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Architecture in Indonesia
Editor: Peter J.M. Nas
Editor: Peter J.M. Nas
This book combines the work of twenty-one authors from East and West, some of whom are long-time residents of Jakarta and all of whom have lived and studied there for shorter or longer periods. They have in common that each of them has become fascinated by certain characteristics of Jakarta’s many-sided life. The subjects they deal with range from conditions in VOC Batavia to particular national or ethnic communities to administrative developments. The essays on early colonial Batavia yield new insights into the demographic situation bases on archival research, and those essays dealing with more modern topics make use of special sources, including maps, that are not easily accessible through libraries. Reading through this volume one encounters striking parallels between the past and the present, because many aspects of present-day Jakarta are deeply rooted in the history of the city: demography and urban morphology, environmental absurdities, traffic, and floods as well as ritual and symbolism. Historians, anthropologists, sociologists, administrators, and town planners may well draw inspiration from this kaleidoscopic picture of Indonesia’s capital.
Editor: Peter J.M. Nas
This volume deals with a hitherto largely neglected aspect of cities, namely the symbolic and ritual structure in which the urban community is rooted. This fascinating facet is explored in a combined effort by social anthropologists, sociologists, historians and philologists for cities like Jakarta, Padang, Bangkok, Beijing, Tokyo, Baghdad, Kathmandu, Lucknow, Francistown, Vitoria and Buenos Aires. Three perspectives on the study of symbolism in the urban arena are developed, namely the material, cultural and structural point of view. This results in a series of new concepts for comparative use and provides lively descriptions suffused by rich detail of the social processes by which urban symbols and rituals are constituted.
Author: Peter J.M. Nas

Cities are places full of symbols. In the past decades, Indonesian cities have become the cradle of urban symbolism studies. In this article, the author presents the results of these studies. The cities researched differ tremendously, ranging from the national capital to provincial capitals and small towns; some of them, such as Jakarta, are purely colonial in origin, while others are more or less traditional in character. Some of them have a top-down symbolic structure, largely the product of government activities, while others have symbolic configurations which have a more grassroots character and are based in the religious domain. The methodological aspect of urban symbolism fieldwork is explored by the introduction of the concept of flâneur.

In: Wacana
Ritual language, wild and domestic animals, and objects of material culture like houses, palaces, and works of art, are often loaded with symbolic meaning. ‘Reading the landscape’, or giving meaning to the natural environment, is a cultural act as well, and one must discover what mountains, coastlines, and islands mean to different groups of people. In this book, written on the occasion of Professor Reimar Schefold’s retirement from the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Leiden University, colleagues and former students from the Netherlands and abroad demonstrate the variety and wealth of the field of symbolic anthropology.
The regional focus of the book is Indonesia. The studies presented range from small island communities in western, northern, and eastern Indonesia to urban settlements in Java and Sumatra. All the contributions are in one way or another related to Reimar Schefold’s work over the past thirty-five years, work that includes extensive studies on material culture, rituals, and the use of symbols in the expression of ethnicity among the various cultural groups of Indonesia.
Volume 2: Survey of Vernacular Architecture in Western Indonesia
This collection aims to attract attention to the admirable achievements of indigenous builders in Indonesia and to contribute to a broader sense of commitment to the endangered architectural heritage in the region. It presents the second part of the results of a research project on vernacular architecture in western Indonesia, sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.
The volume is intended to provide an introduction to all relevant vernacular architectural traditions and developments in western Indonesia. The 21 contributions, all written by researchers with long first-hand experience in the area they are dealing with, are arranged according to the location of the ethnic groups from west to east—from Aceh to Western Java. Each contributor was asked to enrich the architectural description with a self-chosen particular topic illustrating social, ideological and environmental peculiarities of the field situation. The book takes account of the rich diversity of the various contexts and artistic elaborations that developed in the region.
The first collection of essays, Indonesian houses, Volume 1: Tradition and transformation in vernacular architecture, was published as nr. 207 of the Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Leiden, 2003). It focussed on case studies demonstrating how a common architectural heritage has been affected by historical changes, giving shape to a multiplicity of local developments and adaptations both in their material aspects and in their functions as objects of social value and meaning.