Ancient Arts of Minahasa: A Public History Perspective

Yuda B. Tangkilisan


According to Hetty Palm (1958), there are no people like the Minahassan that experienced a tremendous change in the nineteenth century. The changes had a great impact on their way of life, including arts, as a result of Christianization. In the opinion of the zending (priests), their ancient arts did not suit the new faith. They abandoned their traditional arts and as the consequence, the next generation lost their historical ties with their ancestors in the field of arts. They adopted a new way of life of the Western (Dutch) culture. Accordingly, when they become a part of the new state, they considered it important to revitalize the old traditions. However, they had problems as there are no relics from the past. Now they have two options: to cultivate the old or to invent a new tradition. This article discusses the problem and its development from a Public History perspective. The early finding shows that the Minahasans are aware that tradition can get along with the modernity in harmony as their cultural identity. It also deals with the challenge this had brought to traditional historical authority.


Minahasa art; Indonesia; historical authority

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