2012. július 23., hétfő
Niha: ewali, Dél-Nias, Indonézia
2 11.3 k NJha: ewali(Nias, s)
The island ofNias lies 120 km (75 mi) westofSuma-tra, in the Indian Ocean, at about 100 km (62 mi) north of the Equator. It is part of a string of islands marking the western limit of the Indonesian archipelago. Its surface is 4475 sq km (1745 sq mi).
Nias island has a mountain range about 500 m (1650 ft) above sea level, running northwest to southeast; the highest altitude of the island is 8go m (2920 ft) above sea level. Most of the area consists of hilly land, with alluvial plains limited to the coastal areas.
All the population seem to be of common stock. They claim to be Niha (i.e. from Nias) and place their ancestors in the Gomo area, in the centre of the island. According to 1987 figures, the population ofNias island was 537 690 inhabitants. Its distribution is proportional to the importance of the regions: 61 per cent in the north (328 666 people), 27 per cent in the centre (145435) and 12 per cent in the south (63 589). To this total population can be added those inhabiting the Batu islands, who represent about 3.5 per cent of the total Niha population.
In the south ofNias island, often distant from each other, the emali villages lie on a flat spot of the ridge of a hill, surrounded by coconut trees. They are independent 'republics' under the authority of a chief, and offer an example of morphologically shut and well structured units with a nearly urban aspect. Their population varies from one hundred to many thousand inhabitants, who live mainly from farming and tourism.
In the past, to control an endemic state of war, villages were fortified and are reached by large stone stairs of several hundred steps, their stringers sometimes decorated with low-relief animals, plants or weapons. On top of the stairs a gate was watched day and night by armed sentinels.
Through the gate, the village street is a distinctíy paved main lane, about i m (3 ft) wide, dividing the space in half This public path goes through the village. From there, crosswise paths lead to the dwellings. This semi-private area is where laundry and field produce are left to dry. Under the houses, a raised pavement protected from rain by the overhanging roof is a private outdoor area used mainly for domestic chores. On the street side a stone ditch for water drainage is carefully built and slightíy sloped towards the village ends to ensure correct evacuation. At regular intervals, stone slabs make crossing it easier. In front of this canal, on the street side, is a 'wall' of megaliths, the space of social representation showing the rank of the house owner obtained through 'feasts of pigs'. The most numerous megaliths are near the centre of the village, the settlement generally developing from the chief's house and the dwellings of the oldest families established around it.
The houses, entirely built with local vegetal materials, are rectangular, narrow and deep (4 m x 12 m [13 ft x 40 ft]), semidetached, and line both sides of the public street. A footbridge giving access links each pair with its opposite building. The visual impression is that of a continuous roof over a narrow longitudinal window running all along the street.
Buildings of the ordinary people stand on five lines of four piles and have five levels of framework. Five pairs of slanted pillars in the depth and four in the width brace the building.
Houses for the 'nobles' and the 'councillors' are larger and deeper with seven rows of piles and seven levels of framework. The walls made of planks assembled by tongue and groove and embedded at their base and top in two massive longitudinal beams, form the gables supporting the roof frames. These are
braced by slanted beams. The ridge-pole rests on a vertical kingpost over the last frame.
The mterior is occupied by a front public room and rear family rooms. A hearth is built in the wall dividing the two parts. The facade of the building composed of several raised platforms, used tor sleeping or sitting, overhangs the pavement. The front extremities of the beams over the piles are raised in a snake or deer's neck shape. No sculptures adorn the facade or theinteriorexcept'nobles'houses.