Waruga Ornament Symbols; Identity and Culture Representation of the Minahasa People, Indonesia

Ronald M P Kolibu, Agus Sachari, Pindi Setiawan, Tjetjep Rohendi R


Cultural development in a community comes in various forms. The presence of cultural products such as songs, dances, languages, and architecture is a representation of the community that owns the culture. It also means we can see how culture plays a role in forming that cultural identity. Traces of megalithic culture that are manifested in the tradition of burying corpses in stone coffins (Waruga) are cultural products that exist in the Minahasa cultural community. Waruga, which was originally a product of megalithic culture with designs that tend to be plain without ornament, has become a cultural product that is rich in ornament (carvings). Knowledge of ornament was originally present as an individual expression of the Minahasa people. Along with the development of Minahasa culture, the ornament on the Minahasa Waruga then grew and varied. The ornamental design on the Waruga comes with symbolic patterns that represent the culture and philosophy of the Minahasa community. This article is the result of a study that inventories the forms of ornamental symbols on the Waruga in Minahasa. A qualitative research method with a cognitive ethnographic approach from James Spradley was then used in interpreting the ornamental symbols on the Minahasa Waruga. The focus of this study is to reveal the meaning of the symbols. The representation of symbols and meanings was obtained from interviews and literature studies. The existence of different interpretations was one of the challenges in this study. Thus, the meanings found in this study are not absolute but still provides spaces for other interpretation along with the process of this study.

Keywords: Symbol, Ornaments, Waruga, Representation.

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/54-03

Publication date:September 30th 2021

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ISSN 2422-8443

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