Rumah Limas South Sumatra: Unique and Philosophical

Limas house and its picture on the IDR 10,000 note (Photo: Doc - Rumah Limas (Limas House) is a traditional house in South Sumatra Province (Sumsel), Sumatra Island, Indonesia.

Rumah Limas style is like a house on stilts, has five philosophical levels according to geography and the beliefs of the local community.

As the name implies, Rumah Limas is a traditional pyramid-shaped house made on stilts (poles).

This typical building of the Palembang area is built multi-storey. The collection of levels is referred to by the community as Bengkalis which has its own meaning.

The area of Rumah Limas ranges from 400 to 1000 square meters, and is often loaned by homeowners to be used as a venue for weddings and traditional events.

Almost all parts of Rumah Limas are made of wood. The selection of wood is not without reason, but according to the character of the wood and the beliefs of the people in South Sumatra.

Uniquely, the types of wood used are superior wood and reportedly only thrives in the area whose capital is Palembang.

For the foundation, unglen wood is usually used, wood that has a strong structure and is water resistant. Meanwhile, for the frame of the house, Seru wood is used.

This wood is quite rare and deliberately not used for the bottom of the house because in local culture, Seru wood is forbidden to be stepped on and stepped on.

Especially for walls, floors, windows and doors using Tembesu wood, which has advantages from an ecological and economic point of view.

The thickness of South Sumatran culture can be seen from the carvings and ornaments on the doors, walls and roof of the Limas House which depict local cultural values.

Rumah Limas does have a lot of deep philosophies, consisting of five levels with different meanings and functions.

The five levels of rooms are arranged using the Kekijing philosophy, where each room is arranged based on its occupants, namely age, gender, talent, rank, and dignity.

The first level or called Pagar Tenggalung is a wide expanse of space without dividing walls.

This verandah-like room is used as a place to receive guests who come during traditional events.

Uniquely, outsiders cannot see the activity in the room. Meanwhile, from the inside can see the atmosphere outside.

Another interesting thing is the fan door or door which when opened will form the ceiling of the room.

The second level or called Jogan is a gathering place for male household members.

Go deeper or at the third Kekijing, it has more privacy than the previous room. The position of the floor is higher and insulated.

This third level room is only used by specially invited guests when the home owner is holding a hajat.

Especially people who are respected and have blood ties with the voters of the house, are welcome to go to the fourth level.

Like the Dapunto and Datuk, the elder invited guests. Finally, the fifth level or called Gegajah has the widest room compared to the other rooms.

This room is more special and more private, only people who have a very high position in the family or society can enter.

Inside the room on the fifth level, there is a raised floor for deliberations called Amben, and the bridal chamber if the owner of the house is having a wedding.

If you look at the top of the roof, you can see simbar ornaments in the form of horns and jasmine. Aside from being an ornament, this simbar functions as a lightning rod.

Jasmine symbolizes majesty and harmony, the two-horned simbar means Adam and Eve, the three horns mean the sun-moon-stars, the four horns mean the companions of the prophet, and the simbar with five horns represents the pillars of Islam.

Another interesting fact, the Limas House or in Indonesian Rumah Limas was built facing east and west. The part that faces west is called Matoari Edo or means sunrise which symbolizes new life.

Meanwhile, those facing east are called Matoari Mati which means sunset or symbolizes the end of life.

Now, Rumah Limas is rarely built as a place to live. However, that doesn't mean there are no Limas Houses anymore.

After getting to know and knowing the facts about Rumah Limas, for visitors who are curious to see this traditional house in person, they can visit the Balaputera Dewa Museum on Jalan Srijaya Negara I, Palembang City.

Apart from that, the shape of the Rumah Limas building, this traditional South Sumatran house, can also be found on the back of the IDR 10,000 note issued in 2015 and 2010.

Meanwhile, the front side of the IDR 10,000 note has a picture of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II, the Sultan of Palembang who reigned from 12 April 1804 – 14 May 1812. (K-MP/IND)


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