Indonesia is a maritime country – a country partly surrounded by oceans. Well, there is one of the ocean voyagers from Indonesia who was legendary in his heyday, and has even been recognized as a historic heritage by UNESCO!
The legendary seafarer is the Phinisi, a type of ship built by the Bugis tribe and was famous throughout the oceans at its heyday. According to the Ministry of Education and Culture, the history of the Phinisi ship started from its manufacture in the 14th century AD by a crown prince named Sawerigading who came from the Luwu Kingdom.
At that time, the first Phinisi boat was made using raw materials from a tree known as the Welengreng tree or the Tree of the Gods. Why is this Welengreng tree known as the Gods tree? It is said that this tree is a tree that is very sturdy and not fragile, but this tree is often guarded by invisible entities – call it supernatural beings – so that, before this tree is cut down, a series of traditional ceremonies to move the guardian of the tree must be carried out.
What makes Phinisi special?
Well, you must be curious about why this ship has become so legendary? So, our ancestors were able to build this magnificent ship without using written technical guidelines. Yes, our ancestors can build this cool ship without the use of diagrams, pictures and written instructions! They are guided by the speech of their predecessors. Really cool right! Even cooler, this ship is made without using iron! All parts of this ship, both the body, as well as the nails that support this ship are made of wood!
In addition, they also highly uphold local wisdom and local customs and wisdom. Before the Phinisi ship was released into the sea to sail, a purification ceremony was also carried out. The ceremony is in the form of livestock sacrifices in the form of goats if the total final weight of the ship is less than 100 tons, if the final weight of the ship exceeds 100 tons, the animals that must be sacrificed are cattle or buffalo.
In fact, the Phinisi Boat was originally made by Sawerigading to launch the mode to a Chinese royal princess named We Cudai. With this ship, Sawerigading successfully landed in China and married the woman he coveted. However, after living in a foreign land for a long time, a longing for a homeland arose. Finally, he decided to go back to his hometown using the boat he made.
However, an unfortunate fate struck Sawerigading. His sturdy ship was hit by a large wave in the area we now know as Bulukumba. The debris from the Sawerigading ship bounced off to 3 areas, namely Ara, Tana Beru, and Lemo-Lemo. The local community then helped Sawerigading to re-assemble the ship on a larger and larger scale, which eventually became known as Phinisi – which means a ship that is tough and able to fight the waves.