Talking about Indonesian cultures is like diving a bottomless sea. Broadly spanning across the horizon, Indonesia is granted with an abundance of natural and human resources, spread in both great and small islands.
If we navigate the map to the western part of Java island, we will encounter a tribe prominent for its uniqueness, namely Baduy. Geographically, Baduy inhabits an area roughly 40 kilometers away from Rangkasbitung, specifically in Kanekes, Lebak Regency, Banten. Due to their uniqueness, Baduy often becomes a destination for tourists who want to get more insight about its culture.
Divided into two sub-groups – The Baduy Dalam (Inner Baduy) and the Baduy luar (Outer Baduy) – Baduy people are well-known for their consistent effort in preserving their customs inherited by their ascendants since hundreds of years ago. Those customs include the way of wearing clothes, carrying out traditions, and adopting a lifestyle. However, the Baduy Dalam is known to vigorously preserve the aforementioned customs as it is proven in the prohibitions of using electronic devices, means of transportation, even footwear. In contrast, the Baduy Luar has adapted with the development of technology since they are already using electronic devices.
We can identify Baduy people from the way they dress: simple but typical. Unallowed to wear modern clothes, the Baduy Dalam wear a natural white clothe and a navy blue sarong, manually woven and sewn, completed with white head band. The choice of color surely has its own philosophy – white symbolizes purity, cleanliness and clarity, whereas navy blue happens to be the only other color chosen to be their identity since long ago.
Simplicity can also be noticed in the architecture of Baduy houses that use only wood and bamboo as the main materials. This is according to the basic function of house that is a shelter and a comfort zone. Built on a slanted/uneven surface, Baduy houses are stilt houses with piles of riverstones supporting the bottom part of the house to prevent landslide.
In supplying the daily needs, other than farming, Baduy people make handcrafts from bamboo (asepan, boboko, nyiru, etc) and make koja (a bag made of bark). Moreover, Baduy women are known as weaving whizzes. Starting from cotton spun into thread, a cloth with high cultural value is woven with a tool they make by themselves called gedogan or raraga. For your information, Baduy women only weave two colors, namely black/dark blue and plain white. The characteristic of Baduy woven clothes lay on the relatively rough materials with cotton grains from the traditional weaving, giving a distinct texture with geometric pattern adorning the fabric. Judging from the material, process, and result, it can be concluded that the skills of Baduy people in turning natural resources into commodity with high values is surely unquestionable, and this undoubtedly becomes an Indonesian asset that we have to maintain and preserve.