Featured Lontara Project

Ilustrasi La Galigo Episode SSLTC

Pelayaran Sawerigading ke tanah cina

Dari ke-sekian episode naskah La Galigo, SSLTC (Sompeqna Sawérigading Lao ri Tana Cina/Perjalanan Sawérigading ke Tanah Cina) menjadi salah satu episode yang sangat menarik, yakni menceritakan tentang perjalanan Sawérigading mengarungi samudera dan melawan musuh-musuh yang ditemuinya di laut, untuk mencapai tanah Cina. Episode inilah yang akan dikemas dalam bentuk ilustrasi, yakni kelima karakter utamanya : Sawérigading, La Pananrang, La Massaguni, Wé Tenriabéng, dan Remmang Ri Lanqiq. Namun, sebelum mengenal kelima tokoh itu lebih jauh, kita harus mengetahui dulu, bagaimana sih inti cerita episode SSLTC ini?


Pada jaman dahulu, orang Bugis memiliki kepercayaan tentang keberadaan dewa-dewi yang mendiami tiga dimensi yang berbeda, yakni Boting Langiq atau kerajaan langit atau disebut juga dunia atas, Buriq Liu atau kerajaan bawah laut atau disebut juga Pérétiwi (dunia bawah), dan diantara keduanyalah terdapat Alé kawaq, bumi yang kita tempati sekarang.

Dalam Naskah “Mula Tau” diceritakan bahwa Patotoé atau Tuhan yang bertahta di Boting Langiq mempunyai saudara perempuan yang bernama Sinauq Toja, dewi yang bertahta di Pérétiwi. Sinauq Toja kawin dengan Guru Ri Selleq dari Pérétiwi, sementara Guru Ri Selleq juga mempunyai saudara perempuan bernama Datu Palinge. Datu Palinge inilah yang menjadi istri Patotoé. Perkawinan Patotoé dengan Datu Palinge membuahkan beberapa anak, dan salah satunya bernama La Togeq Langiq yang selanjutnya diutus ke bumi untuk menjadi penguasa bumi; setelah di bumi ia pun bernama Batara Guru. Batara Guru kemudian kawin dengan sepupunya dari Pérétiwi bernama Wé Nyiliq Timoq, dan selanjutnya dari Wé Nyiliq Timoq lahirlah Batara Lattuq, ayah Sawérigading; dan Sawérigading inilah yang menjadi ayah La Galigo. (Nurhayati Rahman, 2006:13)

Sawérigading dikisahkan memiliki saudara kembar perempuan yang bernama Wé Tenriabéng, yang dipisahkan sejak lahir karena takut mereka berdua akan jatuh cinta saat dewasa. Namun pada kenyataannya, Sawérigading bertemu dengan Wé Tenriabéng di sebuah pesta jamuan makan tanpa sengaja, dan terjadilah apa yang ditakutkan selama ini. Singkat cerita, Sawérigading gagal meminang adik kandungnya sendiri karena hal itu sangat bertentangan dengan adat dan kebiasaan, dan kemudian akhirnya memutuskan berlayar menuju tanah Cina, ditemani pengawal dan ajudan-ajudannya, menemui sepupu jauhnya, Wé Cudai, untuk dinikahi. Dari keseluruhan cerita, petualangan Sawérigading ke tanah Cina lah yang paling mendominasi dan menjadi topik hangat yang sering diperbincangkan oleh para peminat kisah La Galigo.

Beberapa tokoh utama memiliki karakter yang sangat kuat dan menonjol, yang menjadi ciri khas yang membedakannya dengan tokoh-tokoh dalam cerita lain. Seperti Sawérigading yang selain  digambarkan dengan karakter yang sangat manusiawi, ia juga memiliki kemampuan-kemampuan khusus sebagai seorang keturunan dewa seperti Sawérigading dapat menghidupkan kembali orang yang mati hanya dengan menyelupkan Besi Jawa* ke dalam air bersama ramuan-ramuan lain, lalu dipercikkan kepada orang mati, orang tersebut dapat hidup kembali. (Nurhayati Rahman, 2006:397)*


*Rahman, Nurhayati. 2006. Cinta, Laut, dan Kekuasaan Dalam Epos La Galigo (Episode Pelayaran Sawérigading ke Tanah Cina: Perspektif Filologi dan Semiotik. Makassar: La Galigo Press.

Dikutip dari Landasan Teori BAB II, Tugas Akhir “Ilustrasi Karakter Utama Naskah La Galigo Episode SSLTC”, Maharani Budi, STISI-Telkom Bandung, 2011.

101 La Galigo Featured Liputan

Surviving Folklores

It was a cloudy December 12, 2011. Earlier in the morning, I planned to go to an exhibition related to indigenous oral tradition. Although that day wasn’t the best monday leisure of mine, I still decided to attend the event considering the rareness of its topic.  So, amidst class traffic and capricious rain, I went to Alphabeta Journal’s Spoken Belief: Audio-Visual Interpretation. It was one of my very inspiring afternoon.

The exhibition was held at LIR Space which is located on Bachiro area, Yogyakarta. My first impression was “what an unique venue!”. LIR Space maybe hasn’t enjoyed that much publication or customers, since they just started to roll the dice this July. But the atmosphere is so familiar and unique. They uses 3 in 1 (bookstore-boutique-cafe) concept and surrounding it with Butterbeer from Harry Potter; Homemade Ginger Ale and Picnic Sandwich of Enid Blyton’s classic; Pippi Long Stocking’s Pancake; and Afternoon Tea Set that come straight out of Alice in Wonderland story on their menu’s lists. All of sudden, I found myself on childhood backyard again.

Spoken Belief: Audio-Visual Interpretation is an appreciation toward tales and folklores in Indonesia, by Alphabeta Journal. The exhibition was divided into two chapters: the first is visual exhibition through drawings and paintings, and the second is the audio interpretation. Eight young artists were participated on the visual interpretation. Their wildest imagination let go their skills to sweep the canvas, telling the chosen folklores. You can see how these talented artists defined their own version of some well-known fairytales, such as Lutung Kasarung, The Prince and Mosquito, Slugs and Deer, and many more. However, the folklores are not merely picturesque in an easy way; most of the paintings are strikingly sophisticated and abstract. You will enjoy them as combination of fetterless craft and deep philosophical thoughts. On Sunday, December 18 the audio interpretation began. Stop Lichten, a local band brought their musical performance to tell the visitors about childhood fairytales using modern tones. The exhibition was opened from December 12 until 24, 2011.

The Author (left). And his friend (right).

Although I didn’t find any La Galigo interpretation being showed on both visual and audio exhibition, I found a South Celebes folklore from Bone, Putri Tadampalik and the Bull. It is a very famous story, taken from Pau-Pau Rikadong or the collection of advices and proverbs of The Bugis. The story goes long before Islamic belief infiltrate The Kingdom of Luwu. An exquisite yet so generous princess called Her Grace Tadampalik is the daughter of Datu Luwu (the king). One day, out of nowhere she suffered of inexplicable skin diseases (maja’ uli) which turned her face ugly and her body smelly. The councils of Luwu asked the Datu to expell her from the kingdom, in hope that the skin diseases would not infect the king’s subjects. Brokenhearted by the decision, the Datu of Luwu himself then commanded Her Grace Tadampalik to broad on a small bamboo raft with several lady-in-waiting. She followed the river stream, and finally landed on a jungle.

She decided to live there with her attendants and spent most of her time praying to Dewata with great patient. One day, when she was alone on the yard, a big albino bull came and licked her skin. The bull’s saliva magically cured the disease. After healed Princess Tadampalik, the bull suddenly disappeared. Her Grace was very grateful, but she remained to stay in that remote place rather than come back to Luwu. The story continues with the visit of prince from The Kingdom of Bone and his hunting team near Tadampalik’s abode. Shortly told, the prince met Tadampalik, he found out that she was actually the daughter of King Luwu, married her, and then ruled the Kingdom of Bone together.

Visual Interpretation of Princess Tadampalik and The Bull

Folklores were told by parents to their children orally, from generation to generation. Saving folklores or traditional values through modern package like this exhibition is very important. Many kids nowadays are more familiar with Disney Characters or Japanese Anime rather than their ancestors-made stories. Internet, smartphone, and games also contributes on causing the lackness of interest toward old tales. Alphabeta Journal has proven that as youngsters we could still enjoy globalization and beautiful folklores from our fathers side by side. This Spoken Belief: Audio-Visual Interpretation is an homage to oral tradition, and a jar of creativity for youth thru music and art. Let’s be inspired! Let’s spread this spirit!


101 La Galigo Featured Kareba-Kareba

La Galigo, Now and Then

There are so many things that could happen as the time goes by, and changes can’t be avoided. As an ancient manuscript, La Galigo has experienced a lot of different things through ages. Then and now, what happened to La Galigo?


  • Hundreds of years ago, many Buginese people considered La Galigo as a sacred literature. The manuscripts were even wrapped in a clean piece of white cloth and placed in an appropriate place. Putting it on the floor or in a dirty room is a big NO. People at that time highly respected it. They would burn incense before holding or reading it.
  • Lines from the manuscripts were read and sung in many traditional occasions such as wedding. The wedding couple would feel really blessed when it was sung in their wedding. If it is compared to a nowadays wedding, the lines sung would be those songs sung in a reception to present a solemn atmosphere.
  • La Galigo was believed as a bad luck repellent. People would read it when they move to a new house. In Buginese tradition, there is a traditional ceremony held when a family enters a new house. The purpose is to avoid bad luck so the family will have a good time living in it.
  • When a person was sick, La Galigo was read with a hope that he would recover soon. This is probably due to the story of La Galigo that tells about a character named Opunna Luwuq who had a kind of shade which if it is spread to the whole country, diseases would disappear.
  • Not to mention, La Galigo also contains a lot of knowledge essential to royal family that it was used as a reference before a traditional ceremony was held. The royal family would search for information regarding the preparations and make sure that they were doing it in a right way. La Galigo contains a story about kingdoms and provides detail explanations about certain traditional ceremonies conducted by the royal family as the story developed.
  • Apart from its serious functions in Buginese community, La Galigo was also an entertainment for them. When people are sad, they would read or sing it.


La Galigo Theatre in Italy by Robert Wilson. Source: Bali Purnati


  • Buginese people almost completely forget about La Galigo. So sad it is. The whole nation probably completely does not know or even never have heard about it. La Galigo manuscripts are now kept in Makassar, Jakarta, and Leiden. Leiden Univeristy Library, Netherlands, owns the most complete collection. Manuscripts are placed in a special place with a certain temperature to keep them from decaying. It is such an irony, though. Its own homeland does not even have its complete manuscripts.
  • UNESCO has acknowledged La Galigo as Memory of the World under the name of Indonesia and The Netherlands in 2011. It was because the effort of Dr. Mukhlis PaEni from Indonesia and Dr. Roger Tol from The Netherlands who nominate La Galigo to be registered as Memory of The World in 2008. Three years has been passed, and finally La Galigo is in the list.
  • La Galigo has been adapted into theatrical performance by Robert Wilson, an American director and playwright. He has been interested in experimental and innovative cultural works since he began working. On his cold hands, La Galigo has become such an inspiration and performed in international stage since 2004. World admit it as one of the best theatrical performances. Its world premiere took place in Singapore, and received a round of applause. After performing in Asia, Europe, Australia, and the United States, La Galigo was finally shown in Fort Rotterdam, Makassar, for three consecutive days, April 22-24 2011.

Despite to what happened then and now to La Galigo, it is still remain the same. It is still the world hidden cultural treasure that is long for discovery and preservation.