The Dowry of Babar Royal Wedding

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  • REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash

    REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Basta traditional fabric has been a part of the Babar's royal wedding reception in Babar Island, Tanimbar, Southwest of Maluku, since the 15th century.

    Head of Agency For The Preservation of Cultural Values (BPNB) Ambon, Stevanus Tiwery, said that the fabric that is similiar to the Indian Sari fabric is part of a dowry in a Babar's royal wedding ceremony.

    "In Babar, the fabric is known as Basta or Koka. In the social community structure there, only noblemen that uses them as a dowry for a wedding and as a social status sign for them," he said in Ambon, on Sunday.

    He explained that the usage of sari fabric as a dowry for Babar's royal wedding started since the occupation of Portuguese in Banda Naira, Central Maluku District.

    "The fabric was the first part of a trade with Portuguese merchants in Banda Island, every type has a traditional name in Tanibar languange," he said.

    Basta was categorized to three, which are kok warmer, kok wama and irilawan based on the motives, size and the thickness of the fabric. Most people of Babar use Basta with small cirle motives and geometrical lines that connected to the dowry.

    Besides fabric, Stevanus explained, a dowry usually also consist of a pair of gold earrings and an elephant tusk that is placed in a betel container that is called tol'a and then placed inside a barn.

    "Tol'a consist of a marriage dowry from women in one family that marries with another family, this item becomes a family heirloom because it will continue to be used as a dowry in weddings for the next generations," he explained.

    According to the daun lolat tradition, tol'a becomes a family heirloom which later must be returned to the first family that owns it.