The Adityawarman Museum in Padang, capital of West Sumatra, is a “must visit” when you plan to spend your holidays in this beautiful province, since the Museum has on display the most comprehensive collection on the history and culture of the Minangkabau, the ethnic group that inhabits this region.
Located in the heart of the city at Jalan Diponegoro, the Museum is also a center for research and has on hand educators, conservators, and librarians. For this reason, the Museum is well frequented not only by tourists but also by students and researchers who wish to immerse themselves in the Minangkabau culture.
Here you will find explanations about the Minangkabau “adat” or tradition, its social system as well as material expressions including traditional costumes, musical instruments, replicas of traditional food, legacies of Minangkabau kings, royal accessories, a miniature “rumah gadang” or grand residence, all the way to clarifications on their kinship system.
Among the 5,781 items displayed here, most interesting are the royal legacies like the king’s keris (dagger), regalia, royal carriage, as well the bridal chair complete with fully decorated background as in the Minangkabau tradition.
Another point of interest is the divisions and usage of rooms in the grand residence or rumah gadang, as partitioned in days gone by. Formerly, unmarried Minang boys were not allowed to stay with their parents, but they lived in a “surau” or boarding house where they were taught the Al Qur’an and the teachings of the Muslim religion as well as the art of self defense, the pencak silat.
Girls, on the other hand, are taught to become good mothers. The Minangkabau kinship system differs from most other Indonesian ethnic groups, since the Minangkabau follow the matrilineal kinship, where inheritance of family assets such as land and house pass down the female line rather than through male offsprings.
From their infancy girls are, therefore, taught how to cook, weave, and the oral traditions of “pantun” or rhymies, to instil traditional values and to pass these on to their children. Minang children, in general must study the Qur’an and religious values, they must moreover be able to work in field and in business.
Built in 1974, the Adityawarman Museum was officially opened on 18 March 1977 by then Minister for Education, Prof. Dr. Syarif Thayeb. The museum covers an entire 2.6 hectares area. The building is a specific Minang traditional house called bagonjong or baanjuang, and takes up some 2,854 square meters space. While the name Adityawarman is taken from an important Minangkabau king of the Pagaruyuang Dynasty.
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