The Princess and The Slave, Rantepao, Tanatoraja, Indonesia

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Comments (17)

Ian Stehbens on August 23, 2008

Though of opposite social status these two women delighted in their conversation together, which dignified and unified. One is the descendant of the last Raj of Toraja, the other the descendant of the slaves, that were the established lowest class of Torajan society.

Ian Stehbens on August 23, 2008

It was during the reign of the Torajan Raja, King Sangngalla, in the AD1200s that a formal social structure was established. There were four Tana' or levels: Tana' Bulaan (high nobility), Tana' Bassi (low nobility), Tana' Karurung (common people) and Tana' Kua-Kua (slaves). The remnants of this structure are still evident, and the slaves (or perhaps better defined as serfs) live in separate housing adjacent to the traditional village.

I found that the Letter of Paul to Philemon was a very significant epistle among Torajan Christians.

Marilyn Whiteley on August 23, 2008

The picture is fascinating in itself, and the commentary makes it so much richer. Thank you.


Ian Stehbens on August 24, 2008

And thank you, Marilyn. (Panoramio is enriched by portraiture, even if landscapes are somehow able to be separated from sociology and people.)


Erwin Woenckhaus on August 24, 2008

Wow... I agree completely with Marilyn, Ian. Your comment is very... very interesting! And the picture is so delicate and well composed, congratulations!

Greetings and best regards from Chile.

Ian Stehbens on August 24, 2008

Thanks so much Erwin. I value your affirmation very much. And my mind goes back to some standout portraits in your gallery and in Marilyn's also.

Warm greetings from Sydney as we look forward to a warm spring. Ian

Terry Andrews on August 26, 2008

Wonderfull and interesting facts Ian. Greetings Terry (South Africa).

EVA_L on August 27, 2008

Beautiful, emotional portrait, dear Yan!

Cordially yours, Eva

fanofgd on August 27, 2008

What a nice and happy shot! I folloew Eva: emotional. :-) Good!!! Best regards!

A.SKINNER on August 30, 2008

What ever the social standing of these two wonderful people their love of life shines through their smiles. A beautiful photo. Regards, Anita

Ian Stehbens on September 3, 2008

Dear Terry, Eva, fanofgd and Anita,

In acknowledging your various responses I note that you are all very sensitive people who warm to and affirm others. You reveal this in your own photography as well as in choosing to respond to the two women of this portrait.


Ian / Yan

Flavio Snidero on September 4, 2008

A very interesting portrait (all series is interesting too: it is a good shot and better sense!

Thank you dear Ian; greeting from Italy. Flavio

Ian Stehbens on September 4, 2008

I am very happy that this portrait is appreciated, Flavio. When Ibu Elizabeth introduced me to her humble friend, and I saw their mutual joy, I knew I had to take their photo together. Noticing the pink hat, I immediately remembered that Elizabeth had a pink umbrella in the car, so I went to get it thinking it would "make" the photo. It was a thrill for me when I saw it all come together in the lens!

And I am delighted that you have enjoyed the series.

Best wishes. Ciao.


rlzzza on September 4, 2008's pleasant to see smiling faces. They seem to have enjoyed being together..and them being photographed by you. BTW, thanks for the info.

Rgds, Raz

Ian Stehbens on September 5, 2008

It is all true, Raz. It was a pleasure to be together and the learning of this new environment and culture was so wonderful.

Kindest regards mate,


►Berat Qevî Endam on June 19, 2010

nice photo

happy faces

Greetings from Iran


Ian Stehbens on June 25, 2010

Thanks for your visit to my gallery and for your appreciation of such images as this. They are very special women, Barat.

Ian (currently in Indonesia again)

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Photo taken in Kelurahan Laang Tanduk, Rantepao, North Toraja Regency, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 23, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens