THE GORGA

The intricate art details of the Gorga found in every ‘Rumah Bolon’ or traditional house of the Batak’s tribe, North Sumatera, Indonesia. Usually, the motif is painted or carved onto wood using three colors: white, red, black; each corresponds with different realms in the Batak cosmology. They are meant to protect the building or object from spiritual harm, for instance, evil spirits sent from neighboring village.

Gorga carving featured an outlining floral or undulation motif onto the wood, and then the knife edge is placed at a cant, with the hammer tapping it along the line. A similar cut then is made with the knife and hammer canted in the opposite direction to ensure an excellent groove is. Gorga painting can also be found decorating Batak Toba houses interior, and not necessarily as carvings.

In a Batak house, the Gorga motifs are carved or painted on specific areas of the house. Some examples are listed here: ‘Gorga Simataniari’ (the sun Gorga), is engraved on the left and right corner of a house as a symbol of life. ‘Gorga Ulu Singa’ (the lion Gorga) represents the spiritual symbol of a lion in Batak mythology is placed on top of the front roof of a Batak house. ‘Gorga Boraspati’ depicts the gecko gods ‘Boraspati ni Tano’ and usually carved on the side plank of a Batak house or barn houses: ‘Gorga Boraspati’ traditionally paired with ‘Gorga Adop Adop’ (the breasts Gorga), which represents the breasts; together, these represent fertility. Meanwhile, ‘Gorga Ulu Paung’ engraved on top of a Batak house. The ‘Gorga Ulu Paung’ is imbued with metaphysical power and used to ward off evil spirit coming from outside the village.

By Wulung Damardoto

Source: Wikipedia

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