Study of its Traditional Arts
The products of bamboo craft are in the form of woven bamboo baskets (bakul). The ornaments are traditional, which are inherited from their ancestors. The motifs of the ornaments are usually spiral like, geometric, “tumpal”, etc.
“Purun” is the raw material for making floor mat by weaving, wide floor mat for sitting, for mattress layer, and small size mat for praying. The wide floor mats usually use regular geometrical motifs. Diagonal lines divide the mat into oblongs (rectangles), squares, parallelogram and kite-like form. They use re, green, blue and the natural colour of the purun itself. Mats for praying are rich in motifts and styles of weaving. If they use the natural colour of the purun itself, they will use certain method of weaving to expose the texture of the mats which are like products of modern art.
The multi-colour weaving show us the traditional products of the mat-weaving. But nowadays, there are some products of weaving that we call them optical art, even though the makers themselves haven’s known what optical art is.
Glass painting has become rare and most of them are the products of fifty years ago. They usually painted the buroq, Adam, Eve and the apple, mosques, calligraphy, etc.
There are also many kinds of ornaments, in the form of “the tree of life” and those that are applied for cupboards, beds and other furniture.
There are many kinds of motifs to be used, they are: the tree of life, double spirals, swastika, tumpal, clover leaf, geometrical, stars, flora and fauna, calligraphy, arabesque and turik.
Carving can be found in wood products and brass. Wood carving is used for furniture, parts of houses, certain parts of boats, wooden part of mosques, pulpits, wooden parts above the doors, wooden parts of tombstones, the roofs above tombstones. Brass carving (engraving) as craft can be found in: brass tray (bowl), abun, deep metal bowl for betel chewing, metal save to keep money, kettles, buckets, boxes to keep souvenirs, miniature guns, etc. Unfortunately, they are rarely made now, except those carving for cupboards, beds, and some other furniture.
Calligraphy sometimes stands alone as calligraphy, but some others are parts of certain ornaments. This calligraphy is written in Arabic alphabets in different form of the words depending on the needs, whether they are used to complete ornaments or stand for calligraphy themselves. Calligraphy is placed in respected place in the house. It is placed above the doors, on tops of dividers, on the pulpits in the mosque, on “liwan” and hung on the wall. Calligraphy is also used on brass products such as souvenir box, etc. They use carving or engraving method and sometimes etching method.
The three dimensional products of art are the architecture and statues. The traditional houses include the highroof houses, the palimasan, palimbangan, gajah baligu, joglo houses, Balai Bini, Balai Laki. These are only as monuments because new houses with the same types are not built any longer. The old ones were built about fifty years ago. The traditional mosques have overlapping roofs (double roofs) with domes on top of them. There are only a few mosques with this type of roofs. They are Syu’ada Mosque at Wasah (at the upstream of Sungai Selatan), Sungai Batang Mosque at Banjar area. People have changed he roofs of some double-roof-mosques with curved-roof-types like those mosques in North Africa or roofs of Byzantium types. They only changed the top roof of the mosques.
There are no statues in the Banjar culture because the Banjar are the followers of Islam. Statues are only made by the Dayaks who are still the followers of Kaharingan.
Statues are made very simple but they are magical. The material for making these statues is the “ulin wood” that stands well against heat and rain. The black colour of the wood supports the magical purposes of the Dayak statues. These statues are erected just outside the Dayak villages as their protectors. They are also erected near the grave yards as guards. Statues for profane purposes are not made by the Dayaks.