Minangkabau Costume and Dress in Batik Design

Minangkabau Batik Costume

Minangkabau People

Minang people are frequently referred to as Padang. Padang City is the name of the capital city of West Sumatra province, where many Minang live. Minang usually call themselves "urang."  They are famous for being a matrilineal society with strong family relationships.

Minang is a Malay clan that grew in numbers over time due to the monarchical system and who adhere to a customary system characterized by the transmission of family lineage through women or matrilineal pathways, even though Islamic teachings heavily influence the culture.

The British explorer Thomas Stamford Raffles claimed that Minangkabau was the source of strength and origin of the Malay nation following an expedition to the country's interior, where the Pagaruyung Kingdom was located. Minangkabau was the source of strength and the birthplace of the Malay nation, whose people would later spread throughout the Eastern Islands.

The Minang community has survived as the world's biggest matrilineal devoted group, with over a million members. As a result of the presence of customary density, this ethnic group has been implementing a proto-democratic system since before the advent of Hinduism, allowing them to settle crucial concerns and legal questions. According to Minangkabau traditions, the following phrase is true: Adat basandi syarak, syarak basandi Kitabullah (adat based on law, law based on the Koran), which translates as "custom based on Islamic teachings" (adat based on law, law based on the Koran).

Minangkabau people are well-known in trade long ago, as professionals and thinkers, and in other fields. They are the successors of the historical traditions of the Malay and Srivijaya Kingdoms and lively traders who like doing business with others. 

Below are major places where the Minang diaspora may be found, including:

  • Jakarta
  • Bandung
  • Pekanbaru
  • Medan
  • Batam
  • Palembang
  • Bandar Lampung
  • Surabaya

Outside of Indonesia, the Minang ethnic community is concentrated in cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Singapore, Jeddah, Sydney, and Melbourne, among other locations. The Minang people have a unique food generally known as Padang cuisine, which is quite famous throughout Indonesia and internationally.


Minangkabau Batik Costumes and Women Dresses - Each Batik Shirt or Dress Shows the Language of Minangkabau Culture

The origin of Minangkabau batik costumes was considered China, which purportedly invaded Minangkabau during the Minangkabau Kingdom, which was based in Pagaruyung, Batusangkar, in the 16th century.

This ancient style of batik was virtually forgotten during the Japanese occupation, but owing to the efforts of Wirda Hanim, this batik technique was reintroduced into the world in 1994. Wirda Hanim first saw this batik design employed by multiple people of the Sumanik Nagari, X Koto District, Singkarak, Solok Regency, West Sumatra, and decided to investigate more.

He is especially interested in rare batik items and hopes to revive the traditional clay batik art, which is on the verge of extinction in its current form.

In the past, seahorses and hong birds have been used as traditional Minangkabau batik motifs. Recently, designs from the Minangkabau culture, like siriah in Carano, kaluak paku, batang kayu, and fans, have also been used in batik cloth.

New motifs were also introduced during this period, with inspiration derived from the richness of Minangkabau natural culture, such as the tabuik motif (ark), Jam Gadang, and Rumah Gadang, all of which were inspired by Minangkabau natural culture and help to enrich the Minangkabau fashion. If you love wearing traditional batik costumes or dresses for women, there will be multiple motifs available for your selection.

In the Province of West Sumatra, there are now three locations for producing clay batik:

  1. The cities of Padang
  2. The South Coastal District
  3. The District of Dharmasraya

Each institution has a unique style that depends on its region; even in Dharmasraya, new themes, such as the flowering palm, are being developed.

This Tanah Liek Batik Minangkabau is distinctive in that the coloring materials used to make Minangkabau costumes are derived from natural sources, such as:

  • Clay
  • Jengkol skin (Pithecellobium NETA)
  • Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)
  • Sap gambir (Uncaria gambir)
  • Rice straw (Oryza sativa)
  • Mahogany skin (Sweeta sweeta) and other natural pigments


Minangkabau Religion

While some believe Islam entered through the west coast, particularly in the Pariaman area, others believe it entered through the east coast. The Arcat (Aru and Rokan) and Indragiri areas on the east coast have also developed into Minangkabau port areas, and the Kampar and Batang Kuantan rivers have their origins in the Minangkabau interior. 

In society, there is a saying that says Adat manurun, Syarak mandaki (Adat passed down from interior to coast, while religion (Islam) passed from coast to interior), which is also associated with the mention of Siak people, which refers to people who are experts and diligent in Islam and is still used in the Minangkabau highlands to describe people who are experts and diligent in Islam.

Some archaeological evidence indicates that this society had adopted Buddhism before the widespread acceptance of Islam, particularly under the Srivijaya dynasty, Dharmasraya, and up to the reign of Adityawarman and his son Ananggawarman.

Afterward, with the rise of the Pagaruyung Kingdom, which had adopted Islam as the basis of its government system, its structure was altered. However, until the 16th century, Suma Oriental maintained that only one of the three Minangkabau kings had embraced Islam, a claim that has since been disproved. 

From approximately 1803, the arrival of the Minangkabau clerics Haji Poor, Haji Sumanik, and Haji Piobang from Mecca played a significant role in implementing Islamic law in the Minangkabau interior.

Though challenges came from local people still accustomed to traditional ways of life, the Padri War served as a climax to this conflict before widespread recognition that adat is based on the Qur'an. Despite this, the Qur'an has been a source of inspiration for Muslims for thousands of years.


Minangkabau Customs and Culture

According to Tambo, the Minangkabau traditional system was initially coined by two brothers, Datuk Ketumanggungan dan Datuk Perpatih Nan Sebatang, who were both born in the same year as the Minangkabau traditional system. Datta Ketumanggungan received the aristocratic Koto Piliang traditional system, whereas Datuk Perpatih inherited the egalitarian Bodi Caniago traditional system, passed down through the generations.

Through this process, these two customary systems, known as harmony, have come to work well together and have become part of the system of the Minangkabau people who live in the area.

Minangkabau society is built on three pillars, each contributing to and protecting the integrity of the people's culture and customs. They are religious academics as well as intelligent and ninik mamak, and they are referred to as Tungku Tigo Sajarangan. The three are complementary and stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the same height. This means that a democratic and equitable Minangkabau society is one where the three pillars of the community work together to solve all their problems.


Minangkabau Language

The Minangkabau language is one of the sub-branches of the Austronesian language family, which includes the languages of Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Some believe that the Minangkabau language is a dialect of Malay because of the many parallels in vocabulary and speech styles between it and Malay. In contrast, others believe that it is its language distinct from Malay. Some believe the Minangkabau language is a Proto-Malay language, but others disagree. There are already a lot of different dialects of the Minang language spoken by people in different parts of the world.

Aside from Sanskrit and Arabic, the Minang language also gained linguistic influences from Tamil and Persian and Sanskrit and Arabic. Later, the Sanskrit and Tamil vocabularies discovered in multiple inscriptions in Minangkabau were transcribed using a variety of characters, including Dewanagari, Pallawa, and Kawi, to represent the words they contained. People are thought to have written in the Jawi script before switching to the Latin alphabet because Islam has become more popular.

Even though they speak their language, the Minang people also communicate extensively in Malay and later Indonesian. The Tambo Minangkabau, the traditional historiography of the Minang people, is written in Malay and considered part of old Malay literature or Indonesian literature. It is written in the Malay language and is considered to be part of old Malay literature or Indonesian literature. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Riau Malay language variation was taught by the Dutch East Indies in the Minangkabau region, and it is now regarded as the mainstream language in the region, which is also spoken in the Johor region of Malaysia. The language taught in these Dutch schools is a dialect that the Minangkabau language dialects have impacted.


Traditional Minangkabau Culture

Minangkabau public society has undergone significant transformations since the late nineteenth century. As old customs and societal patterns have changed, Islam has progressively assumed a more prominent position.

After the first Europeans arrived in the country's interior in the 17th century, they discovered a collection of independent regions known as the nagari. However, although the royal family was still in power, their influence had already begun to wane.

The original Dutch researchers widely referred to Nagari as a 'village republic.' It's a small state with political and legal authority. Minang adat (customary rules) are incredibly diverse, mainly owing to the country's initial division of governmental power.


Minangkabau Clans

According to legend, each Minangkabau belonged to a lineage descended from a female ancestor. This lineage (suku) is considered a clan. The boy was required to marry outside of his clan. After that, they were expected to leave home and move in with their husband.

Despite this, they weren't considered full members of their wife's families, and they did most of their work for their tribe. The daughters were the successors of the clan.

Under the suku, a complicated structure of successive sublevels was referred to by hundreds of different names depending on where you lived. The family, who owns (at least the ladies) and lives in a house, is always at the bottom of the social ladder.


Rumah Gadang: the Minangkabau House

A woman's home is her property, which she shares with her children. Homes were divided into several rooms in ancient times, with each mother having a room with a fireplace to dwell with her children and raise them. When a woman of the house got married, it was common for the family to build an addition on the side of the home to accommodate her.

It is estimated that a single house could accommodate 70 to 80 individuals descended from the same ancestral mother at her death. A long house of this type may still be seen in the village of Sulit Air, an excellent example of this type of architecture.

Even in the past, not all houses possessed the distinctive saddle-shaped roof that distinguishes them. Rumah gadang construction was considered a luxury, and Adat forbade some segments of the people from constructing one.


Traditional Economy of the Minangkabau

In ancient times, the Minang people were the first farmers, subsisting solely on rice production in irrigated rice fields (sawah). As a result, the ownership of fields was a significant factor in determining a family's fortune.

Rice Fields were not owned by individuals but rather by entire clans, which were governed in these affairs by senior female members of the clan. Ricefields and ancestral homes were regarded as harto pusako, or permanent holdings of the clan that could not be sold and could only be inherited by female members.

Traditionally, rice cultivation was an extremely labor-intensive task that began with the rainy season in November and December and continued for 6 or 7 months.

Beginning in the nineteenth century, the introduction of lucrative cash crops such as peppers and, more specifically, coffee has already begun to alter the predominance of women in the ownership of the most important economic assets, as such plantations were often considered harto pencarian, or individual properties that could be inherited more freely than other types of property.

Nonetheless, carefully managing rice fields (via sharecropping or pawning) was critical to preserving the clan's status. For ambitious people, maneuvering to gain control of new fields (by leveraging the debts of other families or capturing the holdings of persons who had no descendants) was also highly essential.


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