Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1821 Minangkabau padri
Subjectpadri religious warrior
Culture: Minangkabau
Setting: Padri War, Sumatra 1819-1845

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Lapidus 1988 p478
"In the eighteenth century Minangkabau economy and society were radically changed.  The gold and pepper trades collapsed, and coffee production expanded.  In the economic upheaval some communities disintegrated while new entrepreneurs and peasants prospered.  Rice and coffee producers came into conflict over land.  Uprooted people sought their living in towns and markets.  Traditional morality gave way to a new individualism.
    "In this context, the old order was challenged by a religious revival under the leadership of Tuanku Nan Tua, who militantly insisted that local religious and social practice be reformed to meet the demands of Islam. ... 
    "The reform movement led to bitter civil war. ... While Nan Tua advocated a pacific preaching, one of his disciples, Tuanku Nan Rincheh, organized a military movement.  His followers were pledged to dress in white, wear beards, and abstain from bodily satisfactions.  They were also prepared to wage war against the nagari, kill the penghulus, confiscate their property and establish a new regime, headed by an imam and a qadi, dedicated to the enforcement of Islamic law.  The reformers burned the Shattariya schools.
    "Some penghulus accepted the Shari'a peacefully and assisted in the reform.  This was especially true in merchant communities which had extensive trading connections with other parts of Malaya and Sumatra.  Most of the customary chiefs, however, refused to accept the reformist movement.  To defend themselves they invited the Dutch to intercede.  A bitter and protracted war followed (1819-1839), until the Dutch finally defeated the reformers and conquered the province.  By then the internal momentum of the reform movement was spent, the Muslim factions woke up to their fate, and sought to unite to overthrow Dutch rule.  Their resistance (1839-45) was unsuccessful."

* Heijboer 1987 p72
"In de ruige berglandschappen van Sumatra was rond 1820 nog nauwelijks een Europeaan doorgedrongen.  Desondanks betwistten Engeland en Nederland elkaar het bezit van het eiland.  In 1824 werd aan dit touwtrekken bij traktaat een eind gamaakt.  Nederland zou het scheierland Malakka (met de stad Singapore) aan Engeland laten en de Britten zouden zich terugtrekken uit hun steunpunten op de kust von Sumatra.
    "Op het westelijk deel van het eiland leefden de Menankabause Malaiërs.  Ze hadden wel de Islam aangenomen, maar daarnaast nog veel van hun oude gebruiken bewaard.  Zo was hun maatschappij nog steeds gebouwd op het moederrecht, wat met de ware leer van Mohammed regelrecht in strijd was.  Lange tijd leverde dit geen problemen op ... tot een paar Menangkabause Mekka-gangers in Arabië in aanraking kwamen met de fanatieke sekte der Wahabieten.  Na hun terugkomst begonnen ze op Sumatra een strengere vorm de Islam te prediken.  Spoedig hadden ze een groot aantal volgelingen, die zichzelf 'Padri's' noemden.  Hun fanatisme, ging zo ver dat ze dorpen en stammen, die niet tot hun gelederen wild toetreden, met geweld overmeesterden en tiranniseerden.  De Menangkabause volkshoofden, die hun gezag bedreigd zagen, hadden daarop al in 1818 de hulp van de Hollanders ingeroepen.  Er werd een overeenkomst gesloten, waarbij de soevereiniteit over het Menangkabause land aan her gouvernement in Batavia werd aangeboden, op voorwaarde dat de Hollanders de Padri's zouden helpen verdrijven."

* Frey 1985 p76
"The Padris appeared on the Minangkabau horizon in blazing white not as the Portuguese padres in black but as men influenced by the pilgrims from Mecca who disembarked at the Pidie harbour in North Sumatra.  These Minangkabau men of religion in the nineteenth century had been influenced by the Wahabis in the Middle East who were moved by two equally forceful passions.  They disliked foreigners and they were intent to purify the Islamic religion.  The law of Allah had to be strictly applied, stripped of all the adulterations of the intervening centuries since Muhammad. If peaceful means would not work to cleanse the religion, they were quite prepared to invoke jihad or holy war."


* Frey 1985 p76
"The converted were required to wear white to differentiate them from the traditional adat black.  The more prosperous sawah farmers were determined to retain their black garb.  To show how serious the Padris were about their revolution, one of them, Tuanku nan Rinceh, killed his mother's sister for not adopting the new beliefs."


* Draeger 1972 p130
"Matchlocks were their first productions.  Well-tempered barrels with true bores are evident.  Shooting technique required the sighting to be done by lowering the muzzle to the target rather than raising it.  They used the Dutch snapang to refer to their pieces.  Gunpowder was made, too, but its quality was reported as substandard."

Kris Dagger

* Draeger 1972 p125
"A Menangkabau kris differs somewhat from the Javanese and Balinese types.  The blade is generally about fourteen inches in length, not entirely straight but not especially forged in a marked curve.  The blade is wavy.  Its finish is not smooth and the usual process of polishing is neglected.  The pamur process is produced by beating together, during forging, steel and iron and then after cooling, etching with acids.  The temper of the blade is pronounced hardness, a quality which makes the blade a bit brittle.  Handles or heads or the kris are fashioned from ivory, the tooth of the duyong (sea-cow), or kuda ayer (hippopotamus), black coral, or fine-grained wood.  Handles are carved in the shape of curious figures and ornamented with gold and copper mixtures called swasa.  The beak of a bird set on a body with humanlike arms is a favorite handle theme for carving.  The sheath is formed from beautiful hardwood, hollowed out, and neatly laced with split rotan (rattan).  It may be stained red around the lower part, sometimes plated with gold.
    "The value of the kris to the Menangkabau fighter is proportionate to the number of bodies it has penetrated.  it is a mystically sacred and venerated object.  It is placed on a cushion at the head of the bed when the fighter sleeps."

* Ghiringhelli 2007 p130  
"[I]n Minangkabau the keris was symbol of authority.  The chief of clan never used his keris pusaka to fight, but only as a symbol of his authority".


* Draeger 1972 p126-129
"Smaller, evil-looking blades abound in Sumatra beyond what they do on Java or Bali. The tombak lada is said to be of Sumatran origin.  It has a thick, flat blade, and its handle is usually adorned with a parrot-head figure.  It is sometimes called the lading, but the name is more properly reserved for blades made from an old spearhead and fitted to a handle.  The tombak lada and the lading are double-edged with blade lengths varying from eight to sixteen inches.  The beledau is a curved dagger with a convex cutting edge.  It is extremely dangerous at close quarters and is used in a ripping fashion into the midsection of the enemy.  The sewar is a gracefully arced blade, slender and used for thrusting actions.  Another knife, the sakin, resembles the sewar in general contour except that it possesses a straight blade.  Most vicious of the lot is the 'tiger's claw' type weapon.  Known as the karambit, it is a curving knife modeled after the Arab jambia.  It is gripped with the hilt perpendicular to the ground, thumb over the cap.  The forefinger is inserted in a hole at the head of the hilt.  The blade extends outward, convex surface to the right when held in the right hand.  The karambit is used in an upward, ripping manner into the bowels of the victim."