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N. Sembilan ~ History & Culture

• Seremban • History & Culture • Historical Sites & Museums • Nature Retreats  •
• Port Dickson • N. Sembilan Map •

  • History • Culture • Dances • Museum & Crafts and Culture Complex •
• State Museum • Teratak Perpatih • Negeri Sembilan House •

The Minangkabau People of Sumatra came to settle in Negeri Sembilan in the 15th century. In its early history, Negeri Sembilan as a unified State did not exist. It was rather a loose confederation of nine fiefdoms which developed in the secluded valley of the region. They were under the protection of the Melaka Sultanate until its collapse in 1511 when the Portuguese arrived.

Thereafter they became the vassal of the Johor Sultanate until the 18th century when it had become weak. Attacks by the Bugis forced the Minangkabaus to seek protection from a prince from their homeland. Raja Melewar of Pagar Ruyong. This resulted in the proclamation of Raja Melewar as the first Yam Tuan or the 'Yang Dipertuan Besar' (meaning 'He who is Greatest') of Negeri Sembilan in 1773. The fiefdoms of Sungai Ujong, Rembau, Johol, Jelebu, Naning, Segamat, Ulu Pahang,
Jelai and Kelang were brought together under his rule. Subsequent civil wars among the nine Malay chieftains resulted in the intervention of the British and in appointing a British Resident in 1895. Today Negeri Sembilan is still not ruled by a sultan but by the Yang Di pertuan Besar.

The Minangkabau brought along with them a rich cultural heritage which is still preserved and practised today as the fascinating ‘Adat Pepatih’, a matrilineal system of inheritance and administration that is unique to the State. A maritrilineal system is one where the wife is the head of the household and inheritance passes from the mother to the daughter. The Minangkabaus are divided into twelve suku or clans, and marriage between between members of the same clan is forbidden. The Minangkabau influence in the state can be found in dances and food as well.

Traditional Negeri Sembilan food is hot and spicy, as one of the ingredients used is the chili padi, the hottest of chillies. Popular dishes include rendang, (pieces of beef cooked in coconut milk and chillies). One should experience the unique Minangkabau style of cooking, which sees generous portions of 'chili padi' (small & extremely hot chilies) being used.
Try the "Masak Lemak Chili Padi - fish, meat, or vegetables cooked in coconut milk blended with turmeric and ground chili padi.

Another NS specialty is "Lemang", glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk in a bamboo stem over an open fire. This is normally served with Rendang, a deliciously thick, dry meat curry.

 Negeri Sembilan also boasts traditional music like the Caklempong, Dikir Rebana, Tumbuk Kalang, and Bongai.

Even the musical instruments used bear some semblance to Sumatra, the ancestral home of the Minankabau people. Dances like the tarian lilin (candle dance) and rentak kuda (beat of the horse) are popular. Not to mention the beautifully coordinated graceful movements of the dancers in their colorful costumes in the captivating Tarian Piring and the upbeat tempo of Tarian Randai. Unlike modern dance, each beat, rhythm and movement in these dances combine to form a story, maybe of a bygone myth or simply a reflection of the lifestyles of another era.

They are usually performed at traditional festivities, cultural events and dinner-cum-cultural shows. The movements of the dance with the music pulsating, create a joyous air of fiesta and revelry among the celebrants and are often rhythmically alluring..

Negeri Sembilan Museum & Crafts and Culture Complex
(Taman Seni Budaya)

The complex consists of several buildings like the State Museum, Teratak Perpatih, Rumah Negeri Sembilan (Negeri Sembilan House), Top-Spinning Court as well as replicas of the Megaliths found in Pengkalan Kempas.
Negeri Sembilan Museum & Crafts and Culture Complex
Location: In Jalan Labu, near the main exit from the North-South Expressway
to Seremban town centre
Entrance to the compex is free and the opening hours are:
Saturdays through Thursdays, 10am to 6pm
Fridays, 10am to 12.15pm and 2.45pm to 6pm

State Museum (formerly Ampang Tinggi Palace)
The State Museum building is a historical artefact in itself. The building was originally the Ampang Tinggi Palace, built in the year 1861 by Yam Tuan Imam Sri Menanti at Ampang Tinggi, Kuala Pilah. Later in 1980, this beautiful building was moved to its present location at the Arts and Culture Complex

This palace was originally built as a gift to Tunku Chindai, the daughter of the 5th Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, when she married Tunku Muda Chik, the son of the 4th Yam Tuan, Yam Tuan Radin. Built without the use of any nails, this timber palace contains an unusual number of finely carved panels and a pair of heavy sliding doors.

Among others, this museum houses collections of artifacts from the Royal family such as artillery, copper and silver ware. The building overlooks a beautiful rectangular green lawn awhere you will find British and Malay-made canons referred to as the 'ekor lotong' and 'lela'.

Teratak Perpatih
Nearby, stands the Teratak Perpatih house, commanding a prominent presence in the complex. Its unique roof design, mimicking the two pointed ends of a buffalo's horns is typical of Minangkabau traditional house. Inside, you can find local crafts including porcelain, woodcraft and batik. Other exhibits available here include traditional musical instrument and Minangkabau costume.

Negeri Sembilan House
Yet another building found in this complex is the Negeri Sembilan House, originally built by a Malay prince in 1898 in Air Garam village in Mambau. Referred to as the 'Ghost House' (Rumah Berhantu) by local villagers, the interiors of this mysterious house is furnished with old furniture.





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