Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tau-tau effigies overlooking the land and the alive

In Tana Toraja rocks used for burials can be located on the fields, in the forest, or be high cliffs. People buried high up in cliffs are people with statute or noblemen. The graves are chiseled out of the cliff, accessed through bamboo scaffoldings to put the coffin in, the door to the grave is closed and the scaffoldings removed. When the rocks are accessible, the doors are locked with padlocks to prevent burial goods from being stolen.

People of high birth often choose to add a tau-tau on the cliff where they are buried. A tau-tau is an effigy of the dead person, and reminds of her/him. Big buffalo sacrifices are to be made (at least 24 buffaloes) for acquiring the right to have a tau-tau.

Royal graves in Suaya (close to Makale) with very old tau-taus.
Tau-taus from Londa below.
Below tau taus from Kete Kesu (south of Rantepao).

Unfortunately, many tau-taus have been stolen to be sold in art galleries. Most of the accessible tau-tau are now “behind bars”.

Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi, May 2009.

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At August 20, 2009 at 8:48 AM, Blogger Sylvie + family said...

What is a tau-tau made of ???

At August 20, 2009 at 12:08 PM, Blogger brommel said...

Salut Sylvie at al, kapok tree, bamboo and others.


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