The Ornaments of Tapis Lampung: A Reflection of Lampungnese Civilization Through the Era

 The Ornaments of Tapis Lampung: A Reflection of Lampungnese Civilization Through the Era

Production of Tapis Lampung and its ornament | Foto: Dok Lampung Geh

Lampung Geh – Tapis (Kain Tapis) is one of Lampungnese cultural heritage in a form of woven fabric. Decorated by the gleam of manual embroideries from gold threads, Tapis has become a traditional work that has a high economic value. In this modern era, Tapis is not only associated with traditional textile products worn at ceremonial or traditional events. The ornaments of Tapis also being popular as the design to any local representatives. Its philosophical and artistic design has become the icon of Lampungnese cultural identity.

It is identified that the ornaments are backgrounded by the influence of many cultures and religions which have developed and acculturated with the local wisdom. According to by historians, those cultures which have influenced the creation of Tapis ornaments including: the pre-historic period of Neolithic, Dongson culture from Asian mainland, Hindus-Buddhist kingdom, Islamic culture, and also Chinese. Hence, this fusion of multi-cultural views and beliefs had been the source of inspiration in the making of Tapis ornaments.

Behind its beauty and uniqueness, each of the ornaments of Tapis Lampung associated with historic-philosophical meaning that reflected lampungnese custom and social condition by the times. According to Katalog Kain Tapis by Department of Education and Culture of Lampung Province, the ornaments are divided into three classifications including geometric, natural, and the other unclassified.

1. Geometric

It is known that the geometric forms are derived by the influence of pre-historic era of Neolithic and Dongson culture. The basic shape of square, diamond, and triangle are commonly used to create the design and formed several ornaments which now we know as pucuk rebungtajuk, dan sasab.

Those ornaments are formerly known to visualize the contour of nature and surroundings. As the product of dynamic culture, the ornaments also have developed into such diverse forms. For example, the calligraphy of Arabic letter influenced by Islamic culture which is popular as wall decoration.

In general, each of the ornaments has its own meaning to deliver the local wisdom from generation to generation. Pucuk rebung, one of the most popular geometric ornaments, conveys a meaning to maintain a good relationship and kindly help each other (Novialista, 2018).

2. Natural

The interaction between human being and natural objects has inspired the creation of Tapis ornaments since a long time. The ancient beliefs and imagery had brought its influences into the ornaments. The animals ornament such as peacock, rooster, and birds represent the highest level social degree while the ornament of pohon hayat, one of the oldest ornaments, symbolizes the harmony of universal belief to the almighty God who creates the universe.

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Exposed by Hindus culture in the early of 12 AD, the use of spiral and meander form had known related to the symbol of Hindus worship of the sun and nature, as well as the eagle ornament that symbolizes the transportation of God Wishnu and the elephant ornament as one of sacred animals to Hindus which is the embodiment of God Ganesha.

As the largest mammal, elephant has a big brain and strong memory thus they symbolize intellectuality and knowledge Foto:
The ornament of Kapal naga, influenced by the element of Chinese culture

The element of Chinese culture also had a role to the creation of the dragon ornament. The ancient Chinese history stated that their culture has been interacted along with the locals since 4 AD through trade transactions. According to their belief, dragon is one of the sacred mythological creatures and also the symbol of protection. Thus, this ornament gives another philosophical meaning about having acceptance to interact and being tolerance with any difference culture.

The ornament of bunga sulur sulur Foto:

As the more Islamic culture developed in society, the ornaments has transformed into more modification to give new religious meaning. For example, the ornament of bunga sulur sulur draws meaning to spread the good deeds and advantageous knowledge (Susetyo in Novialista, 2018)

3. The other unclassified

There are several ornaments which cannot be classified into geometric and natural. The number of those variants are getting increase as keeping up with the current development. Thus, it creates a lot of space for more contemporary ornaments.

The ornaments of siger, kapal/bahtera, and payung agung, a very typical combination
to represent lampungnese culture Foto:

The ornaments like siger, kapal/bahtera, payung agung, the building of human spirits, and kereta kerajaan/rato are included into this classification. These ornaments have the closest idea to the original custom and culture of Lampung. Siger, known as the woman’s crown in lampungnese culture, symbolizes the feminine and graceful nature of woman.

The form of kapal/bahtera is also another trade mark of lampungnese culture. It symbolizes the period of a man’s transition which has a view to get higher in achievement. The lampungnese ancestors used to believe that kapal/bahtera is the transportation for spirits to take them from the world to heaven.

By the times, when the society being more cultured and knowledgeable, the ancient meaning of several ornaments above has been constructed and adapted into more meaningful message. Then, it is expected to be well-delivered and preserved by generation to generation.


Penulis Artikel: Maisyatusy Syarifah

Editor: M Adita Putra

Maisya Rifa

Maisya Rifa

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