Aida Alias

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Merritt, Helen

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Art


Toraja (Indonesian people)--Dwellings; Toba-Batak (Indonesian people)--Dwellings; Minangkabau (Indonesian people)--Dwellings; Architecture; Domestic--Indonesia; Indonesia--Civilization; Indonesia--Religion


This study discusses the architectural structures and decorative motifs of three Indonesian curved ridgepole type houses of the Sa'dan Toraja of Sulawesi, and the Toba Batak and Minangkabau of Sumatra. The three types of houses are examined with regard to the physical description of each, the decorative features, and the symbolism of the houses. All of these are related to the religious beliefs of the people, especially beliefs associated with the cosmos. As evidenced from the study, the three houses share a common ancestry, yet have evolved through time and changed in meaning due to external influences. The basic structures of the Sa'dan Toraja and the Toba Batak houses still maintain their relation to the cosmos. The structures of the Minangkabau house were probably related to the cosmos in early times but such associations have now been forgotten. The predominant ornaments and motifs which are associated with fertility are shared by the three cultural groups. Plant forms are used by all three groups but enjoy special importance in the Minangkabau houses because of their respect and admiration for nature.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [131]-135)


xii, 135 pages




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