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Monday, 22 March 2021 08:30

UMMA BOKULU in East Nusa Tenggara

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The traditional house of Sumba is usually called ‘Uma Bokulu’ or ‘Uma Mbatangu’. Umma Bokulu means big house, while Umma Mbatangu is a tower house. Umma Bokulu and Umma Mbatangu refer to typical Sumba’s stilt houses with towering roofs. Umma Bokulu was built in the traditional village of Wainyapu, Kodi sub-district, West Sumba. Meanwhile, the form of traditional houses outside the traditional village generally does not have towers. The top of Umma Bokulu's roof is very high, approximately 20 meters. Thereby, it is called the tower house.

Umma Bokulu is built from natural materials. The floor and frame are made from bamboo. The roof is made of thatch grass. The strength of this building is on the 4 main pillars in the form of giant logs called ‘Kambaniru Ludungu’. Around the main pillar, there are 36 supporting pillars called ‘Kambaniru’. This traditional house is built together through traditional ceremonies. To build a large house, rattan ropes are used without nails. When installing thatch roofs, they must not take a break to eat until the roof covering is complete. The uniqueness of Umma Bokulu is the conical shape of the ridge, which is called ‘Toko Umma’. Inside the house, there is a room that is used as a barn to store seeds, foodstuffs and heirlooms.

On the top floor of Umma Bokulu, there is a residential room called ‘Bei Uma’. In the middle of the room, 4 main pillars are used as a kitchen. In front of the kitchen, there is a dining table, and in front of the dining table, there is a veranda where the gentlemen have a discussion. The porch or terrace is usually fitted with buffalo horns or pig fangs. This proves that the owner of the house has slaughtered livestock, as well as a sign that the owner of the house is an important person in the community. Staying at Umma Bokulu is very comfortable. The free air in and out of the floor and bamboo walls makes the air in Umma Bokulu very comfortable. The floor also does not need to be mopped or swept, because between the bamboo logs that are arranged into the floor, there are gaps so that dust and dirt fall directly under the house. This under Umma Bokulu is called ‘Kali Kabunga’. This space is usually used to store firewood and is also used as a cattle pen. The authenticity of the Sumba traditional house is still preserved. These thatched tower houses can be found in traditional villages such as Wainyapu, Ratenggaro, Tarung, Waitabar, Lamboya, Wanokaka.

Read 638 times Last modified on Monday, 22 March 2021 19:42