Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bidayuh Longhouse

Ethnic Bidayuh accounts for about 8.4% of the total Sarawak population. They live mostly along the water catchments of Sungai Sarawak and Sungai Sadong. Most of Bidayuh longhouses are built along the hill slopes of Sarawak's interiors.

At the main entrance, one will enter a pavilion-like circular structure made of mostly bamboos. This structure, connected to the longhouse by a wooden plank, is known as Baruk (Bidayuh headhouse) which functions as the congregation place for the Bidayuh warriors. The Baruk's interior is filled with weapons, gongs, wooden masks and other personal effects. There is a raised platform right in the middle of the Baruk. If you look straight up from the platform, you will see human skulls hung from the roof top. Those human skulls are real and they were once the enemies killed by Bidayuh warriors.

The Bidayuh longhouses are all raised on posts, and are often two or three hundred feet long and forty or fifty wide. The floor is always formed of strips split from large bamboos, so that each may be nearly flat and about three inches wide, and these are firmly tied down with rattan to the joists beneath. When well made, this is a delightful floor to walk upon barefooted, the rounded surfaces of the bamboo being very smooth and agreeable to the feet, while at the same time affording a firm hold. But, what is more important, they form with a mat over them an excellent bed, the elasticity of the bamboo and its rounded surface being far superior to a more rigid and a flatter floor. These with constant rubbing of the feet and the smoke of years become dark and polished, like walnut or old oak, so that their real material can hardly be recognised.

The Bidayuh longhouse is pretty decent. The internals are quite similar to other longhouses, with the exception of an open-top sprawling veranda made of bamboo floors.

Another feature that worth a mention inside the longhouse is its artistic bamboo carving. Only special types of bamboo are suitable for this dying work of art. The finished bamboo products make excellent stationery holders or beautiful wall decorations.

Welcome to the Bidayuh longhouse.

The Bidayuh headhouseJustify FullThe Bidayuh headhouse

Gongs hung in the headhouse.Gongs hung in the headhouse

Cages and baskets hung on the wall.
Cages and baskets on the wall

Bidayuh woman demonstrating the dehusking of paddy

A Bidayuh bamboo bridge

The Bidayuh ladies in their traditional costume.The Bidayuh ladies in their traditional costume

artistic bamboo carving.Artistic bamboo craving

Bidayuh Weaved Basket

A glimpse of the Bidayuh longhouse

Visitors sampling traditional food inside a Bidayuh traditional house

Let's go to the farm

1 comment:

halfian said...

hope some day can visit your country especially sarawak ..