Karo Batak House


In peaceful times an unescorted Karo woman strolls down a path through the village. One of several clans of related Batak tribal peoples, the Karo Batak decorate their traditional multi-family rumah adat homes in a style distinguishable from the other clans. Until only a few of decades ago the Batak clans constantly waged war on each other.

Constructed without nails--using wooden beams, dowels and rope, and covered with a saddle-shaped roof made of atap a palm thatch--Karo houses are raised on stilts and built to last for centuries. A white buffalo totem caps the peak at each end of a prow-shaped roof, peering over a colorfully woven bamboo strips inset featuring bold, geometric patterns.

Cingkes, North Sumatra


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