Toraja Sulawesi

Toraja local tradition visible on Tongkonan houses’ front gable (Sulawesi, 2019)


   SONY FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

   55mm  ƒ/5  1/250s  ISO 800

   6000 x 4000 px / 300 dpi

The traditional ancestral houses called Tongkonan are visible in South Sulawesi (The Celebes) in Indonesia, and more specifically in the Toraja region . These houses are noticeable with their boat-shaped and oversized saddleback roof, and they are built up on piles. The name comes from the Torajan people and literally means the place where family members meet.

The Tongkonan pekamberan is home to several local traditions within the family circle as those coming from the famous funeral riuals, the heart and soul of Toraja culture, during which buffalos are sacrificed for the richer families. Each buffalo horn hung on the front gable means the death of a family member. These horns are really a sign of prestige and are traditionally used to signify the wealth of the household.

In terms of other type of ornamentation, the paintings use only four colors: the black for death and darkness, red which represents blood and life, white that evokes bones as well as purity and yellow symbolizes the power and approval of the gods. Apart from geometric shapes, celestial animals are also present on the facades: the rooster and the buffalo head are symbols of prosperity.

Thus, the Tongkonan pekamberan houses are really considered as the representation of the descendants of the family.

Location Sulawesi