Lampung Cultural Art


The culture of Lampung has begun since prehistoric time based on the prehistoric inheritance of Lampung including the spreading area of megalith and bronze Culture, this is based on the discoveries of bronze drums or “nekara” and statues of ancestors of megalithic era in specific Pasemah style of Art.

At the beginning of the first century the Hindu influence was supposed to enter Indonesia. The influence of the Kingdom of Sriwijaya had left Hindu culture in Lampung which further developed until the era of the kingdom of Majapahit. The traditional of Lampung Community has an effect from Hindu and Buddha even up to the present. Such as the structure of its community, the way of thinking and the traditional ceremonies. Like other areas in Sumatra, the development of Islam was begun with trading activities which was then strengthened by the Kingdom authorities. Islam was supposed to enter Lampung from West Sumatra, however history has proved that the development of Islam in Lampung were among others caused by the fact that this area was used by preachers from Banten to practice the teaching of Islam under the reign of Sultan Hasanuddin. This does not mean the influence of Islam did not come from Sumatra. The Sultanate of Palembang in its trading activities particularly in pepper trading, had also given an Islamic culture effect in the Northern part of Lampung.

"Tulang Bawang" was known as Lampung pepper plantation which drew much attention to the traders from outside this area. It was not surprising that Lampung was the area where all kinds of cultural factors came from outside such as from Minangkabau, Malaya, Palembang, and Java, particularly from Banten. These cultural factors from outside have become the foundation of the traditional Culture of Lampung.

The ancient belief in prehistoric time formed a tradition of believing supernatural power, creatures and spirit of the ancestors. The belief in “Gali-Gasing”, giant of heaven which pounced on the moon, "Satatuha", a tiger as the substance of spirit of the ancestors; such a belief created incantations, prohibitions and all kinds of ceremonies which were obeyed as traditional cultural heritage. Some kinds of traditional village ceremonies showed mixture of both factors faith and religion. The "Gahak Pepadun" ceremony, a ceremony of achieving a title according to Lampung Pepadun Community, was one of the village ceremonies indicating sinkretism of some kinds of element of faith and religion. Since Islam rules were of most importance and very much respected, ceremonies according to the Islamic calender among others “Nyungsum Bulan” was held on the birthday of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. “Ngaru belas” was held on mauled of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W., beside other ceremonies like those generally found in other communities in Indonesia. The influence of Hindu and Islam could be seen in its literature legends, poems and epigrams from generation to generation.

The influence of Hindu is left on the story of Raden Jambat Mangkirat in the form of poem, the adaptations of the story of "Rama and Shinta", which later changed its theme and form caused by the influence of Islam. The old texts ever uncovered among others contained those story of animals and local events, beside those containing elements of education and history.

Proverbs or phrases in the form of epigrams or verses delivered on ceremonies. If the proverbs contains some advice or guidance of life epigrams become variation which was uttered by replying each other in the ceremony. The literature mentioned above was among others that which become the source of stage drama such as the legend of Raden Jambat. The story teller acted as the story reader or ”dalang” in the drama of "wayang kulit (leather puppet) by imitating, the movement or the words of every prominent figure being told.

The series of traditional ceremony in the region always involved activities in arts. Consequently traditional art in the region was supported by traditional rules on the community which were very much obeyed. Traditional classical dances of the Lampung region were displayed on traditional events such as wedding ceremonies, visitors welcome ceremonies, installation of title ceremonies (cakak pepadun) etc. This traditional dances was accompanied by musical instrument such as “kelintang Lampung” or “Talo and Rebana”. Traditional garment including supplements of facilities containing values of art of decoration and art of regional handicraft.
“Tari Ngambai/Sambai”, traditional classical dance from Aceh, displayed by young people in honour of guests. “Tari Kipas” known of its dynamic movements, “Tari Seruping”, or war dance; “Tari Piring” with all kinds of dance movements.

Beside the traditional classical dance mentioned above there is a certain new dance a greater part of which is based on the traditional pattern though not exactly bound to the rules and movement and rhythm of dance like that standardized in classical dance.
These dance are for example: tari Sembah, Tari Manjau, Tari Sebambangan, Tari Sorai, Serumpun etc, like in the art of dance, music of Lampung, either vocal or instrumental is based on tradition. The main basis of Lampung music is vocal music whereas instrumental music comes from outside.

Vocal music is art of recital which in several areas of Lampung is called Muanjay “Adi-adi Hatang” and “Pisaan” can be recited individually or in group. “Diker” or Zikir” which belongs to instrumental music is accompanied by instruments such as "kendang" and "rebana", it is by nature a religions music (Islam). The introduction of new musical instruments such as harmonium, guitar, violin, have created new songs which become popular among the community of Lampung. This new creation has developed in "gambus" orchestras, Malayan orchestra with Malayan and Indian rhythm of songs.

Classical music instrument in Lampung is ike a flute made of thin bamboo with one hole on the bottom and three holes on the upper side. "Kulintang" belongs to this bamboo made musical instrument which has been pushed aside by Javanese "gamelan" recently.

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