traditional Tana Toraja village on Sulawesi island, Indonesia.
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Toraja (Toraja Land) area of Indonesia's Sulawesi island looks like
a picture postcard of Nature's Ideal Home. Terraced rice fields
carpet the ground, limestone cliffs form the walls and
winged, bamboo-thatched buildings on stilts provide the exotic decor. Each village encompasses one extended family, mostly Christian but with some added and very curious Animistic beliefs.
Buffalos are a vital part of Tana Toraja status and ceremonies.
is - culturally - totally different from Bali, Java, West Papua or, in fact any other culture in the world. The three elements that make Tana Toraja so fascinating are the bizarre boat-shaped house styles, the extraordinary, elaborate funeral ceremonies and the manner of burial of the dead.
Toraja tongokan houses decked with buffalo horns.
There is no definitive reason for the traditional curved roof construction of Toraja tongokan; some think that
the curious shape of the houses mimics buffalo horns, while others
believe that it is related to the shape of the ships that brought
the original settlers to Indonesia's Sulawesi island.
reason, the final resting place of the buffalo horns is on front
pillars that support local houses and the more horns, the more family wealth.
Similar Toraja structures but these are rice storage buildings.
Toraja grave stones, menhirs.
Toraja menhirs (large, shaped, standing stones) are called simbuang batu in Toraja language (which incidentally is not a written tongue) and commemorate the dead, the size being related to the status of the deceased. These menhirs are not very common in Tana Toraja due to the vast amounts of manpower required to cut, drag and place the stones and the money needed to pay the labourers - who generally party hard through the whole process, consuming several pigs and buffalo en route.
The best known menhir fields are Bori Kalimbuang and Rante Karassik, while the best is Rante Tendan in Balusu.
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