Themes of Classicality in the Malay Architectural Form: Principles from an Aristocratic Realm

(Tema Keklasikan dalam Bentuk Seni Bina Melayu: Prinsip daripada Golongan Bangsawan)

  • Tengku Anis Qarihah Raja Abdul Kadir Puan
  • Puteri Shireen Jahn Kassim Assoc. Prof. Dr.
  • Noor Hanita Abdul Majid Assoc. Prof. Dr.
  • NurulSyala Abdul Latip Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia

Abstract

The term “classical” in past South East Asian and Malay writings, architectural discourse, cultural studies and urbanism has earlier related to a notion of ‘purity’ of form related to and the traditional vocabulary and forms arising mainly from timber constructions and, compositions. This article challenges these current definition by linking the definition to an Aristocratic Realm, and argues that selected palaces and mansions of the Malay world embody these universally understood principles, rules and themes. Such rules of classicality, include a keen sense of symmetry, proportionality in form, controlled decorative character and clean lines. This paper explores the frontages and elevational character of these palaces and highlights the underlying themes as reflections of ‘the assertive character of aristocratic classicality’ which heightened in the context of evolvement of malay socio-polities which reflected in certain palatial buildings and aristocratic houses of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The incursion of colonial influences, had evolved hybrid forms, as the Malay socio-cultural landscape underwent changes due to economic energies and new technologies. These palaces reflect local architectural form which underwent changes in technology but essentially held on to the essence of the Malay form. The language of the Malay ‘classical’ depict attributes of classicality’ and a ‘highly’ refined style, reflect certain timeless rules of form. The evolution of these classical forms was occasionally ‘interrupted’ by colonial elements and juxtaposed upon the original Malay characteristic forms.Though at times, this had diluted its essence, it did not compromise it. The Malay elements which survive the onslaught of modernity through colonialism, can be defined as key rules of Malay architectural and urban character. These are argued as part of the same ‘tree’ of Malay architecture which absorbed colonial vocabulary yet belonging to the same root, and genealogy.


Keywords: Malay Classical style, regionalism, hybridity, architectural tectonics, South-East Asian architecture


Istilah “klasik” dalam hasil penulisan, wacana seni bina, pengajian budaya, serta urbanisme Asia Tenggara dan Melayu pada zaman dahulu biasanya mempunyai kaitan dengan idea bentuk yang “suci” dan juga berkaitan dengan kosa kata tradisional, serta binaan kayu dan gubahan. Artikel ini mencabar definisi semasa dengan mengaitkan istilah ini dengan golongan bangsawan, serta mengemukakan pendapat bahawa istana dan rumah agam dunia Melayu merupakan manifestasi prinsip, unsur dan tema yang umumnya dianggap sebagai “klasik”. Unsur keklasikan termasuklah kepekaan terhadap simetri atau kesekataan, keseimbangan bentuk, hiasan yang sederhana dan seni reka yang tidak sarat. Artikel ini meneliti ciri buka depan dan dongakan istana lama, serta mendedahkan tema yang tersembunyi sebagai cerminan ciri keklasikan bangsawan yang agak dominan dan semakin meningkat seiring dengan konteks evolusi sosiopolitik Melayu, seperti yang tercermin dalam reka bentuk beberapa istana dan rumah agam golongan bangsawan pada akhir abad ke-19 hingga awal abad ke-20an. Pengaruh seni bina penjajah Barat menghasilkan bentuk kacukan pada ketika sosiobudaya Melayu mengalami perubahan akibat perkembangan ekonomi dan teknologi baharu. Istana yang dibina pada zaman ini menunjukkan perubahan dalam seni bina tempatan dari segi teknologi tetapi pada dasarnya masih mengekalkan unsur bentuk seni bina Melayu asli. Istilah “klasik” Melayu menggambarkan ciri “keklasikan” dan “kehalusan” gaya, serta mencerminkan unsur bentuk yang tidak lapuk dek zaman. Evolusi bentuk klasik ini adakalanya “diganggu” oleh unsur kolonial yang digunakan bersama-sama ciri bentuk seni bina Melayu asli. Pengaruh ini sedikit sebanyak menghakis unsur Melayu asli tetapi tidak menjejaskannya secara menyeluruh. Unsur Melayu yang mampu bertahan walaupun menghadapi arus kemodenan akibat penjajahan Barat merupakan unsur utama seni bina dan ciri urbanisme Melayu. Unsur inilah yang dibincangkan dalam artikel ini yang berasal daripada tunjang seni bina Melayu yang sama dari segi asal usul dan salasilah, meskipun menyerapkan kata-kata kolonial.


Kata kunci: gaya Melayu klasik, kewilayahan, kekacukan, peralihan seni bina, seni bina Asia Tenggara


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Published
2019-01-11
How to Cite
KADIR, Tengku Anis Qarihah Raja Abdul et al. Themes of Classicality in the Malay Architectural Form: Principles from an Aristocratic Realm. Melayu:Jurnal Antarabangsa Dunia Melayu, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, p. 27-59, jan. 2019. ISSN 1675-6460. Available at: <http://myjms.mohe.gov.my/index.php/Melayu/article/view/2880>. Date accessed: 25 apr. 2019.