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Sangkurat, The Vest of the Dayak Ngaju Tribe

Sangkurat, Oversized Vest of the Dayak Ngaju Tribe

Indonesia has long been known as a country that has ethnic and cultural diversity. This is reflected in the various patterns of life of the Indonesian people, which are represented by traditional houses, traditional regulations, traditional weapons, and the traditional clothes worn. The Dayak Ngaju tribe, for example, the ethnic group that inhabits the Central Kalimantan region, has traditional clothing known as the Sangkurat.


Sangkurat is clothing in the form of a vest, made of nyamu skin or cow leaf skin. Lemba or what is known as the areca nut tree is a type of plant that grows in clumps. This plant is commonly found in humid areas that are not exposed to direct sunlight. The leaves are oblong and green, the leaves of this plant are very tough and strong. The leaves that are commonly used as raw material for making vests are leaves that are about 50-60 cm long and 15-17 cm wide. Lemba leaves have a lot of fiber on their surface, it's not wrong if Sangkurat can last up to decades.

Sangkurat, Oversized Vest of the Dayak Ngaju Tribe


The leaves which have been knitted into a vest are then decorated in such a way using various knick-knacks. Patches of these trinkets are taken from pangolin skins, coins, buttons, beads, to objects deemed to have magical powers (amulets). These decorations are not without purpose, the Dayak Ngaju people believe that the decorations in Sangkurat can protect them from evil influences and other people who want to do evil.


Etymologically Sangkurat comes from the word Sangka which means barrier or buffer. Apart from being used when fighting, the Dayak Ngaju tribe also made this outfit an oversized outfit that is often worn in various ceremonies, such as traditional weddings, for example. The Dayak Ngaju people feel more manly by wearing Sangkurat vests, moreover they believe that by wearing Sangkurat, they will be free from everything that can destroy themselves.