The Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia, view the physical world as having two distinct components, Ranah Minang (which is itself further divided) and the rantau. Ranah Minang is the traditional, ancient homeland of the group, while the rantau is everything beyond the boundaries of their ancestral lands. This distinction is institutionalised in the folklore of the group and serves as a characterizing dichotomy in their worldview. Even today, when the outlines of the ancestral home are indistinct and the region has been overlaid with the modern administrative structure of modern Indonesia, the distinction between Ranah Minang and the rantau remains strong in societal perceptions and occurs repeatedly, not just in traditional folklore, but in modern expressions of traditional culture. This paper will describe the spatial division of territory in Minangkabau culture as it exists in the folklore of the group and will discuss the ways in which this traditional perception is manifested in modern society. Further, it will discuss the changing nature of the conception of Ranah Minang with respect to the physical landscape as well as to the institutions and structures of society.
Field of Research
200313 Indonesian Languages
Socio Economic Objective
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture