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Old July 7th, 2013, 12:46 PM   #1
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The Old Palace of Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

The Istana Lama Sri Menanti, or Old Palace of Sri Menanti, is the masterpiece of Minangkabau architecture. It is located in Seri Menanti, the royal capital of Negri Sembilan, about 30km from the administrative capital, Seremban. This is the seat of the Minangkabau rulers, who migrated to Negri Sembilan during the early years of the Sultanate of Malacca. The original palace was destroyed in a rail during the Sungai Ujong tin wars. The present structure dates to 1902 by two Malay master craftsmen, and was built without the use of nails.

Sri Menanti Palace was used as the royal residence until 1932. The central tower which was used as a treasury and royal archives, can only be reached by latter from the Sultan's private rooms, and is not open to the public. At the apex of the structure is a projection type known as "open scissors" -- this design style is now rarely seen in Malaysia, and one of the few rare examples is the Muzium Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

The Sri Menanti Palace is raised 2 meters off the ground, standing on 99 pillars. 26 of these pillars are carved with bas-relief of foliated designs. Above the front porch is the carving of a pair of mystical creature with lions' heads, horses' legs and long feathery tails - the style suggests that they could have been carved by Chinese craftsmen.

Sri Menanti Palace today houses the Muzium Di Raja, the royal museum, a sadly lacklustre showcase of local royal paraphernalia. Among these are the usual old costumes, medals, keris, golfing memorabilia and photos of the past Negri rulers and British administrators.

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