The architecture of this region was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Roofs were shaped like pointed buffalo horns. Close by Bukittinggi, we visited the largest house in all of Sumartra where once the king had lived. The huge main room was relatively empty, but the building itself was an architectural masterpiece. Behind was an equally beautiful small building that may have been for servants.
The people of this region of Indonesia’s biggest island—the Minangkabau—were a matrilineal society. Thus, when we entered a 300 year-old-house close to Pandai Sikek Village in Balimbing, we learned that the home had been passed down from mother to daughter over the centuries. The grandmother who owned the house and her grandchildren greeted us as we climbed the precarious steps. The woven floor was a little unnerving, even with our careful steps, but the atmosphere was lively and friendly.