Rumah Bolon is a traditional Batak house and something really neat about the Indonesian culture. Indonesia has many tribes and cultures. Many of them are unique in their dress, habits and traditional housing. One such house is called Ruma Bolon, a traditional Batak house. At one time, the rumah bolon was the king’s palace. Now, it is usually shared by several families. The Batak people live in North Sumatra. There are 6 Batak subgroups: Batak Toba, Batak Karo, Batak Pakpak, Batak Simelungun, Batak Angkola, and Batak Mandailing. The outside of the rumah bolon is decorated with gorga, carvings shaped like buffaloes and lizards in black and red. Batak people believe that gorga protect the house.
When the rumah bolon is built, rope joins the walls and the roof, not nails. The door has special decorations on it shaped like eggs and darts. The ropes that fasten the slanted walls together forms a pattern like a two headed lizard. The The two-headed lizard represents the home owners, who must respect each other. Another important characteristic is how the curved roof which goes up on each end of the house.
There are two different types of Batak houses. They are based on the number of carvings. A house with many gorga decorations is called Rumah Jabu, while a house with no carvings is called a Rumah Jabu Ereng. Bataks usually have two main buildings, a ruma (residence) and a sopo (rice barn). The sopo has three parts: an under part to house animals, a middle part to relax and weave, and a top part used to store rice.
A rumah bolon is divided into several rooms:
- Jabu Bong is in the back right corner. This area is for the Porjabu Bong (head of household), his wife and children
- Jabu Soding is in the back left corner. This area is for the married daughter.
- Jabu Suhat is in front left corner, and is for the oldest married son.
- Tampar Piring is an area for guests
- Jabu Tonga and Jabu Rona are two additional rooms family who are visiting overnight
- Telaga is an area in the center of the house, used for gathering together
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