Traditional Architecture of South Sumatra: Rumah Limas

A Rumah Limas of Palembang, South Sumatra.
The shape of Rumah Limas is very typical.  the uniqueness  is found on the roof which is pyramid-shaped and has a pole or a house on stilts. Generally, this type of home was designed with great size and lots of room inside. Usually the pyramid house founded on the riverbank facing the ground, which is equipped rooms gegajah, used when the owner held a celebration, festivity or important meetings.

A house as the building is apart from a physical unit, it has a specific symbol. Every owner gives his or her house with a particular meaning. Custom house or Rumah Tradisional form diverse has its own values. The shape of traditional house also describe the natural conditions in the area.

Rumah Limas is the traditional house typical of South Sumatra province. From the name, it is clear that this is a pyramid-shaped house. The building is terraced with a separate cultural philosophy for each level. These levels are called by the community as Bengkilas. The roof and the pillars of Rumah Limas has specific meanings. The uniqueness of other Limas house is the form of stratified floors. While the form of Limas house which resembles a house on stilts or Rumah Panggung describes natural conditions of which are mostly located in the wet areas.

As the name implies, the Rumah Limas, then this is the shape of a pyramid-shaped house. This custom home has a terraced building, and at every stage has its own cultural philosophy. These levels are called community as a Bengkilas. When we visit to one of Limas house, the host will welcome on the patio or on the second floor alone. Limas house is very spacious and is often used as a venue for a celebration or custom events. The area of this traditional house vary, typically ranging from 400 to 1000 square meters.

The word of Limas means that truncated pyramids (in Java known as Limas). Rumah Limas contains a very deep meaning and is a symbol of an expression, among others, expressed in the form of a steep roof and five levels on the floor or kekijing.

The roof is pyramid-shaped • Firm house clapboard • Distribution room that has been set (standard) • Tiered-level (gravestone) • The entire roof and walls and floors of the house rested on top of the poles embedded in the ground • Have ornaments and carvings featuring identity Palembang culture

Pyramid-shaped roofs truncated pyramid. At the top of the pyramid roof there are ornaments in the form of simbar and horns. Simbar interpreted as a home crown decorated with jasmine flowers, which symbolize harmony and majesty of the traditional house of the pyramid. While the horn serves as an ornamental roof, but the amount of the horn has its own meaning. There is the influence of Islamic culture on the horn.

The Interior of Rumah Limas (Courtesy of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport, Plg).
The core of this Limas traditional house is gegajah room or customary room. Located below the peak of the limas roof, in the gegajah  rooms there are  pangkeng room, amben tuo and amben keluarga. These rooms space is the space which is the highest and most respectable compared to other spaces, because the room is a space with highest privacy.

In the gegajah room,  you will find Amben (Hall / Deliberation place) located in the gegajah room.  Amben Keluarga serves as a family room. Amid the gegajah room, you will find Amben Tetuo. The function of .Amben Tetuo is as a reception room of honored guests or , and as a wedding seat for the bride at the wedding even.

Each Kijing or staged floors is a symbol of  different lineages native people of Palembang. The first Kijing is the first and the lowest terrace is a gathering place for the native of the Kiagus (Kgs) group. While the second Kijing, higher than the first, is for the native of Kemas (Kms) group and Massagus (Mgs). The third Kijing is for the native of Raden group  with his family.

The main construction of the roof (alang arrangement) use a type of rare wood called Kayu Seru. the wood can not be used at the base of the house, because it should not be trampled by foot. The main pillars use Unglen wood (Ulin or Borneo Ironwood Eusideroxylon zwageri,) or Tembesu. For doors and windows, the wood used is Merawan wood.

For the shake of aesthetics, Rumah Limas also features wooden carvings with floral motif as a symbol of life. There is a Buddhist influence in the form of three sacred flowers (lotus, jasmine, deer fern) and the influence of Islam in the form of calligraphy carvings.
Source: taken from a number of sources


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