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TAMAN BUDAYA > RUMAH ORANG ULU
 

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ETHNIC INFORMATION:
The term Orang Ulu is not ethnically correct per se, mainly because it consists of various well-distinguished ethnic groups such as the Kayan, the Kenyah, the Kelabit (found in the famous Bario Highlands), the Lun Bawang and to a certain extent, the Penan. Nonetheless, the term Orang Ulu is associated with the tribes living in the inaccessible interior regions of Sarawak rainforests. In fact, orang (means "people") and ulu (means "interior or up-river regions") is often useful to signify the "up-river dwellers" who often settle in the middle and upper reaches of Sarawak's many great rivers.

In general, the Orang Ulu are famous for their unique musical instrument called sape, elaborate beadworks, extensive body tattooing, sword-making (or called parang ilang), exquisite totem poles and intricate native arts.

THE HOUSE:
To me, the Orang Ulu Longhouse is the most impressive of all the showcase houses when it comes to appearance. The house is built on raised floors some feet above ground amidst lush tropical greenery. In fact, on first glance, you can mistake the longhouse as being an exquisite and luxurious jungle resort with its open-air veranda, superb traditional motifs painted on the totem poles, artistically-rich equipment and tools, etc.

The house also features the most colourfully-dressed ladies that you can find throughout the village. Occasionally, the ladies will perform a welcoming dance at the main veranda while the visitors are being serenaded by the beautiful tunes from the traditional wooden xylophone called Jatung Lutang. The musician, who seems to be unable to converse in Malay or English, is more than happy to demonstrate the unique musical tunes that comes out from the Jatung Lutang. The house also showcases a number of sape, the increasingly well-known string musical instrument. The process of carving a sape from either tropical woods or bamboos is also being demonstrated in the house.

Outside the longhouse is a small hut where metal swords are fabricated. The process, requiring adept skills and profound craftsmanship, is a dying art and should not be missed altogether.

MY VERDICT:
The most beautiful house in the cultural village.

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