Definition and History of Traditional Fine Arts – Do you know about the meaning and history of traditional art? Maybe only a few of you know, for that in the following article we will provide complete information.

The development of Indonesian traditional art has started since ancient times, but no one knows for sure when prehistoric times began. The Stone Age and Metal Age are two eras in Indonesia's ancient periodization.

Both of these ancient eras were both works of art (traditional). This was demonstrated by the presence of artifacts in the form of traditional arts, such as hand axes, bracelets, necklaces, ceramics and even paintings.

Regarding the work itself, it is a plagiarism of palms found on a cave wall in Sulawesi's Leang-leang cave and depicting an injured jumping pig, in addition to plagiarism of palms on the cave wall. The term traditional art refers to the preservation of the philosophical principles of a culture from generation to generation.

Definition of Traditional Fine Arts

Traditional art can be defined as art that is based on adherence to standards, ideas and practices that have been passed down from one generation to the next. Understanding: the word "traditional" itself is traditional if we want to have a thorough understanding of the concept.

The term "traditional" comes from the word "tradition". Tradition is described as "customs handed down from ancestors which are currently carried out by the community, which deviate from the assessment or assumption that existing techniques are the best and most correct" in the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI, 2005, p. 1208).

Definition and History of Traditional Fine Arts

The definition of tradition above is closely related to traditional art. This is because traditional art is still very limited to certain laws and standards, which are still very rigid and absolutely based on traditions handed down from generation to generation by our ancestors. Even traditional art is usually still spiritual and religious in nature.

Some of the ideas behind traditional artwork are usually related to the myths and fairy tales that surround it. However, the foreign culture may have an impact on the local culture as well. Civilizations from outside the United States, in particular, are established.

However, traditional art cannot be separated from its own local cultural knowledge. So, different areas generally have traditional artworks that are unique and different from other locations. Although at times, many locations and surrounding cultures also influence each other and there are comparable practices.

In the end, intertextual law (similarity and mixing of texts between works) also determines the character of local culture. As a result, traditional arts and local cultural resources are intertwined. The richness of the cultural workshops is inextricably linked with local brilliance.

Indonesian Traditional Fine Arts

The Brahmaputra River which divides China, India and Bangladesh has had a great influence on Indonesian traditional arts. Two waves of Indonesian immigrants arrived in America, around 2000 BC (Mesolithic) and around 500 BC (Bronze Age).

People from Austronesia settled there afterwards because they had well-established agricultural and settlement traditions there (Neolithic). It is clear that Indonesia's predecessors had far-reaching cultural influences.

Coming from different parts of the world, it will result in many different cultures. Initially, art was used as an embodiment of magical and symbolic rites. Residents of the archipelago came to identify the worship of punden terraces as the indigenous genius of the Indonesian nation.

After that, several other influences also came into play. We need to go deeper into the history of Indonesian art in ancient times to understand how this cultural process occurred.

History of Traditional Fine Arts

What about traditional arts in Indonesia? The development of Indonesian traditional arts began in ancient times. In ancient times, Indonesia left various traditional artworks such as bracelets, necklaces, ceramics, and paintings on cave walls.

The cave art work was found in the Leang-leang cave, Sulawesi. The artwork is in the form of handprints on the walls of the cave. Apart from that, in the South Sulawesi cave there are also paintings depicting people sailing in the water.

History of Traditional Fine Arts

In the metal age (500 BC), there are also remains of different traditional arts, such as bronze drums, vessels, and various jewelery made of metal. Agricultural tools and traditional ceremonial equipment are also common.

The Hindu-Buddhist era has left many remains of traditional artwork. Many empires left inscriptions throughout historical periods. Such as the Ciaruteun Inscription (Tarumanegara Kingdom), the Kedukan Bukit Inscription (Sriwijaya Kingdom), the Canggal Inscription (Ancient Mataram Kingdom).

Decorative shrines, cemeteries, spiritual (meditation) sites, and bathing areas were all abandoned by the monarchy during this period. After that time, the archipelago entered the Islamic era. Like the Hindu-Buddhist era, the Islamic era also left behind various works of art. such as ornamental art, calligraphy, wayang, and batik cloth.

The Islamic era also left quite impressive buildings, such as mosques. Various traditional cultural arts in this era are still commonly found today. Not only does it still exist, but its culture is also maintained.

General Characteristics of Traditional Fine Arts

In most cases, these traditional works of art are still preserved in communities that adhere to traditions passed down from generation to generation.

However, the main purpose of these works of art has shifted over time. Originally operating as heirlooms, today they are ornamental or keepsake pieces.

Their functionality has been affected by changes in social and cultural systems. In general, Indonesian traditional art has the following characteristics:

  1. Progressive because of the maritime tradition, progress has been made. Indonesian art is often influenced by other cultures, which are then merged and developed so that it reflects the characteristics of the Indonesian state.
  2. Traditional or static in nature, the hereditary art system of the archipelago is guided by the archipelago's agrarian culture. Like how agricultural civilization in general will continue to pass on its expertise in farming.
  3. Indonesia is Diverse (Diversity) consists of several regions and islands with different environmental and natural conditions, thus fostering diverse creative expressions as well.
  4. Craft nature, because Indonesia's natural wealth provides a variety of natural resources for the manufacture of handicrafts.
  5. It is non-realist in nature because it is based on pure and primal beliefs that inspire creative works that are symbolic or symbolic in nature.

General Characteristics of Traditional Fine Arts

Characteristics of Traditional Fine Arts

Our research on the meaning and definition of "traditional" art has led us to many findings about what is meant by "traditional" art.

So that we can identify what is contained in traditional art. These features are:

  1. The climate and culture of a place influence the creation of traditional art.
    A cultural mirror that is adapted to the many social and cultural systems produced by its people.
  2. The uniqueness of a society is reflected in the quality of its traditional arts.
  3. Norms, ideologies, and conventions that existed in the past and have been passed down from one generation to the next inspire artists to produce their works.
  4. Traditional art tends to be static because it is limited by strict laws and standards from local norms and culture where the art was developed.

Examples of Traditional Fine Arts

Examples of traditional arts include:

  1. Night Doll
  2. Puppet show
  3. Doll
  4. Ornaments on traditional houses in each region
  5. Batik
  6. Songket
  7. And others


The following is an example of questions and answers about traditional art

Why do different regions have traditional works of art that are unique and different from other regions?

Traditional art works in various regions often have characteristics and differences from those in other regions. Although sometimes many locations and surrounding cultures also influence each other and there are comparable practices.

In the end, intertextual laws (similarity and mixing of texts across works) also shape the character of local culture.

What are the remains of traditional art made of metal?

Tools produced during the metal age included bronze cauldrons, bronze containers, statues, funnel axes, and other traditional fine arts made of metal, especially funnel axes, bronze statues, and sickle eyes.

Why does traditional art have a static nature?

Traditional art is also static because this art does not have strong attachments or boundaries from a number of conventions and also the local culture from which the art began to emerge.


Term art traditional form refers to the preservation of the philosophical principles of a culture from generation to generation. Art works in Indonesia are often found in a communal environment that still adheres to the rules or conventions obtained from the previous era.

These are the articles that we can convey, we hope that information about art and its history can be helpful and useful for all of you.

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