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Malay Heritage Houses Still Stand Tall In Melaka
Demang Abdul Ghani's House in Kampung Merlimau Pantai Melaka Foto Bernama By Nor Maizatul Afzan Kamarudzaman
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The Malay traditional houses in Melaka are not only a magnet for camera totting tourists but also stand testament for the remarkable skills of its builders who combined local customs, beliefs and Islam in the design.
The beautiful and unique architecture of these traditional houses probably give a clue on how the 15th century palaces of the Melaka sultanate would have appeared.
Their design goes beyond the creativity of their original artisans as they also highlight the owners status in the society.
Many of the traditional homes in Melaka were built using the best timber and often they stood on pillars, have high floors and gable roofs, and a front staircase adorned with colourful tiles.
The timber used to build the Malay houses were meranti, cengal, belian, resak, tembusu and merang.
DEMANG ABDUL GHANI'S HERITAGE HOUSE
Among the traditional homes that still stand tall is the house of an ex-chieftain Demang Abdul Ghani bin Penghulu Abdul Majid, who hailed from Palembang, Sumatra.
The house located in Kampung Merlimau Pantai is believed to have been built in 1831 without using any nail. It is the work of master craftsmen who literally created a functional house in fulfilling the house owner's role as the 'demang', the village headman.
The layout includes a verandah at the front, a staircase leading to the entrance and the living room. Often this part is called as the main house, which is joined to the kitchen through a passage called 'selang' and this is considered the central section. The rooms can be found in the main house or central section.
In its heydays, the house also served as the village administration centre where the locals congregated.
The house still stands strong and a fourth generation descendent of Demang Abdul Ghani, Rizal Mat Ramli, 40, now owns the house.
THE HOUSE ALSO SERVES AS A GALLERY
"In fact this is the house of my ancestors that has been turned into a gallery by the Melaka Museum Corporation (Perzim) to enable visitors to appreciate its unique architecture and heritage.
"I grew up in this house and even had met my grandfather Penghulu Mat Natar bin Abdul (the son of Demang Abdul Ghani) who had lived in the house during his lifetime," he said to Bernama.
A Perzim staff, Roslan Jaafar, 36, who has been working at the traditional house for the last eight years pointed out that the house is unique in many ways.
"There are many intricate carvings including the flower motifs carved into the central pillar," he said adding that the visitors who came to the house were awed by the embellishments in many parts of the house.
DRAMA SHOOTING LOCATION
At Kampung Serkam Pantai, the traditional house belonging to Haji Jaafar Hashim, 73, functions differently and has attracted both the tourists and film makers.
The closed verandah of this house functions as the living quarters and meeting hall. Apart from that the central section or the 'rumah ibu' is the place reserved for women during events like weddings.
According to Jaafar, the 90-year old house was the set for the "Suamiku Seorang Ustaz" drama with Adi Putra and Nora Danish in the lead role.
He is happy for the fact that he had inherited a house that boasts for rich family heritage. Moreover, its beautiful and intricate carvings and colourful tiles is almost a century old now.
The design on the tiles at the staircase also indicate its owner's status and there is a local saying that the Melaka traditional house's eminence is in its staircase.
news coverage in our Newswire service.
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