INHERENT WISDOMS AND THE ROLES OF SACRED SPACES IN SPATIAL ORGANIZATION OF VERNACULAR HOUSES
Keywords: Sacred Space, Spatial Hierarchy, Local Wisdom, Belief, Spatial Organization, Tai-speaking
Abstract. After nearly twenty years of studying vernacular houses in the field, the rapid loss of beliefs in sacred household spaces that used to influence people’s roles in spatial organization has been found. This article thus presents the various roles of inherent wisdoms in the house by revealing the ancestors’ living wisdoms transferred through the use of sacred space as the tool for the control over the order of household members. The research was performed by means of the qualitative method and comparison of information collected from the field surveys of the vernacular household patterns of the Tai-speaking ethnic groups living in Southeast Asia from 2000 until the present. The results reveal the relationships between the sacred space and spatial organization in the house. The household area in the front has a higher intersectional sacred power than the back part. The former is associated with the family head and males, while the latter is associated with socially inferior members such as daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law. In addition, it can be said that the sacred places are used as a stratagem for transferring lifestyle wisdoms and household patterns until a group’s identities are formed. This study indicates the importance and urgency to conserve intangible cultural heritages that are fading with urbanization. Otherwise, a risky situation towards incapacities to retrieve valuable roots of thoughts could happen in the near future if there is no tool to conserve the intangible cultural wisdom heritages such as the household sacred spaces.