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Textiles in Torajan Funerals

Textiles in Torajan Funerals

Death is a gradual process by which the spirit travels to puya, the Island of Souls. The funeral is to assist in this journey and some textiles symbolise a pathway to puya.

The Toraja people live in the mountainous region of south Sulawesi. Now predominantly Christian, they still practice, especially in rural areas, some elements of their ancient animist belifs and ceremonies - aluk to dolo - 'the Law of the Ancestors'. A good example is the funeral, in which sacred textiles are prominently used.


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Torajan Ceremonial Textiles

Torajan Ceremonial Textiles

Every family group posseses a set of sacred cloths, which are used at ceremonies.

The Toraja people - 'men of the mountains' are just one of many hundreds of ethnic and cultural groups in Indonesia. They live in the mountainous region of south Sulawesi. In the 20th century most Toraja people became Christians, and some Muslims, but they preserved many former animistic customs and beliefs, known as aluk to dolo - 'the Law of the Ancestors'. The cosmology includes the four major spheres - North, South, East and West. The North is associated with deities, heaven and light, while the South with darkness and the world below. The East is associated with life, the well-being of humans and animals, with fertility and food; while the West with death and funerals. The Toraja people practice fascinating and elaborate ceremonies, of which the funeral rites seem to mesmerise the foreigners. Renowned for unique architecture and carvings, the Toraja also use a variety of textiles. As in the other regions of Indonesia, their textiles were influenced, and often obtained, via trade networks reaching to India, China and later to Europe. Interestingly, since the 1880s, some of the classical Toraja fabrics - saritas - were manufactured in Dutch factories.

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Jln. Pembangunan No. 19. Rantepao.
Toraja Utara. Sulawesi Selatan

Jln. Ahmad Yani No. 63. Rantepao.
Toraja Utara. Sulwesi Selatan.


Monday - Saturday: 9 AM - 6.30 PM

Sunday: 1 PM - 6.30 PM


Phone: (+62) 423-27003

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