Cupping: A Healing Method in West Sumatra (Indonesia) A Semiotic Perspective

Alexander Stark


This article investigates cupping a widespread traditional healing method in West Sumatra. However, the way cupping is used in some areas of the Malay-speaking region is unique in the sense that it uses buffalo horns during the cupping process. The author argues that for the matrilineal society of the Minangkabau in West Sumatra, the buffalo horn has a special connotation as it is crucial in many elements of their culture. By considering a semiotic research approach, the author wants to offer a new perspective on the Minangkabau and their culture. By doing so, the author intends to participate in the discussion about signs and symbols in the field of Minangkabau studies. In qualitative research that comprised fieldwork, traditional healers were observed and interviewed. The peculiar cupping technique was analysed, and a semiotic perspective seemed most fitting. It was detected that the usage of horns contains a specific meaning for the Minangkabau culture.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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