The Use of Symbolic Language in Caci Aesthetic Performance, Indonesia

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This article aims to analyze the message behind the verbal and nonverbal symbolic language used in the Caci performance of the Manggarai speech community. Caci is a traditional performing art that combines theatrical aesthetics, costume, music, and literature. The theory of Semiotics is used to analyze verbal and nonverbal symbols in this research. This theory focuses on the meaning relation between the signifier and the signified. The relation between the signifier and the signified gets a whole meaning when connected with society’s cultural context. The method used is a qualitative approach and a phenomenological method. Forty people were selected as respondents using the techniques of purposive sampling and snowball sampling. Data were collected through audiovisual recordings, documenting, observing, and interviewing, and then data were analyzed qualitatively. The findings of this study demonstrate (1) verbal and nonverbal symbolic language use in Caci’s aesthetic performance, which is classified into three aesthetic categories (individual aesthetic, the aesthetic as creative ideas, and the aesthetic as collective art) and (2) symbolic language of Caci performance costumes as the inheritance of six philosophical values. These two findings conclude that in Caci’s aesthetics, the construction of symbolic language is expressed in both verbal and nonverbal manifestations. The Caci performances manifest verbal, symbolic language forms using “paci/lomés” and traditional rite speeches. Meanwhile, nonverbal symbols are depicted in Caci properties, such as panggal, destar, ndéki, nggorong, slépé, songké, white trousers, nggiling, korét, kalus, tubi rapa, gendang, and nggong. The Caci performance conveys philosophic values: sportsmanship, purity, intelligence, masculinity, and power.