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  • Syiva Zahra

The Versatility of Pending

Indonesia has an unimaginably rich cultural heritage. Both of the country's clothing and jewelry have their own unique qualities and meanings. Jewelry was no less appealing than clothing, which gained popularity because of its many colors and designs. Pending is one of Indonesia's most well-loved traditional adornments and may be identified by its oval shape and traditional placement at the head of the belt as a buckle. According to Notty J. Mahdi, an anthropologist from the University of Indonesia, pending can be found in practically all of Indonesia's ethnic groups, from Kalimantan to Sumatra. The jewelry, which Chinese traders first introduced to Indonesia, has also undergone numerous variations in different parts of the country.

In the seventh century, pending, which had previously been offered only to kings and queens, became more widely available. During that time, Chinese merchants and locals intermingled alongside different cultures to form what we know as the Peranakan community. As a result, pending became available to the entire populace rather than just kings and queens. They were able to broaden the use of this jewelry to include weddings, the Cap Go Meh festival, and the Lunar New Year celebration. However, because it was expensive to import pending from China, people in the archipelago started looking for alternatives among local craftspeople in the 12th century. During this transitional period, pending began to spread from Sumatra Island and continued to spread to Java and Kalimantan. The look of pending would slightly differ in each of these locations, but it never lost sight of its core values or founding philosophy. For instance, in Aceh, flowers were added as decorations, a nod to the idea that life should be beautiful. Due to Chinese philosophy, pending never has sharp edges; instead, it must be rounded to ensure that happiness and good fortune continue to revolve.

In Sumatra/Malay weddings, pending is worn around the waist, alongside bengkong. This came with diamond, gold, and multifaceted rings that were worn on the finger. Malay women dress in a long kebaya for the ceremony, which is made of fine fabrics like brocade and silk with gold pins. The clothing is combined with woven songket cloth from Malaysia or coal. The hair bun is covered by a shawl with gold decorations. A hanging necklace with a seker, sukun, serati chain, masturu, gogok rantai lilit, and rantai panjang motif is worn around the neck and chest. There are several types of bracelets worn, including krulut, tepang, kana, tie, and keroncong bracelets, as well as anklets.

Pending was made exclusively for the nobles and monarchs in West Nusa Tenggara back then. Specifically, pending there takes form in a Kalawu bracelet, which comes with other traditional jewelry such as Tusuk Konde, Giwang, and Onggar-Onggar. In Javanese custom, pending is worn during the Central Javan dance known as Srimpi. This is highly valued because jewelry is one of the features that stands out in dance performances, especially in pending, which has gold colors. The iconic 9-piece pending from Jambi, on the other hand, is worn as a necklace.

Ultimately, pending refers to the shape of the jewelry, instead of the physical jewelry itself. The diamond shape of the Pending is frequently used because it stands for joy and fortune. It serves multiple purposes and is a common traditional jewelry in Indonesia regardless of their different variations. The Pending is one example of how diverse Indonesia truly is; the variation in designs that every ethnicity has shows exactly that.

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