Toraja, Sulawesi: The status symbol of the Torajans is displayed on the facade of each dwelling

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Comments (3)

Marilyn Whiteley on August 21, 2008

Beautiful shot, Ian!

EVA_L on August 22, 2008

Wonderful decoration, Yan!

Best wishes. Eva

Ian Stehbens on August 23, 2008

Dear Marilyn and Eva,

I am pleased to reveal the wonderful art of the Toraja. Thank you for appreciating it.

And the real life black & white buffalo are called bonga and it is the spotted ones that are highly valued by Toraja people. Hence this sculpture adorns a traditional Torajan house. At a funeral ceremony the children of the deceased sacrifice buffaloes and pigs as a means of attaining their inheritance. There is a formal evaluation committee that establishes the relative value of each buffalo. The longer the horns and the more spots on the animal the higher the value of the buffalo. In addition to attaining a higher share of the inheritance, the display of buffalo is also a means for exhibiting status and earning respect. Yet it must be remembered that in the giving of the animals the result is that the whole community benefits from the feast.

Ian / Yan

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Photo taken in Lembang Pata' Padang, Sanggalangi, North Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 20, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens