Sterling Silver Filigree Tongkongan Torajanas Culture Indonesia

Sterling Silver Filigree Tongkongan Torajanas Culture Indonesia

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Sterling Silver Filigree Tongkongan Torajanas Culture Indonesia:



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Tongkonanis the traditional ancestral house, orrumahadatof theTorajanpeople, inSouth a distinguishing boat-shaped and oversizedsaddleback roof. Like most of Indonesia’sAustronesian-based traditional architecturetongkonanare built on piles. The construction oftongkonanis laborious work and it is usually built with the help of all family members. In the original Toraja society, only nobles had the right to buildtongkonan. Commoners live in smaller and less decorated homes calledbanua.

  • 1Background
  • 2Etymology and history
  • 3Construction
  • 4Social significance
  • 5Ornamentation
  • 6Contemporary tongkonan
  • 7See also
  • 8References
    • 9External links


    Sulawesi (formerly known as The Celebes) is a large island, extraordinarily contorted in shape, lying and theMalukuIsland group (also known as The Molluccas). It is an island abundant in natural resources with a rich and varied array of cultures including some of the most distinctive and anthropologically significant in Indonesia. The dominant groups of the island are the seafaring and once the island’s south-west, and the strongly ChristianMinahasaof the northern peninsula. The Toraja, ofSouth Sulawesiare, however, arguably one of the most distinctive of ethnic groups in all Indonesia.

    The nameTorajais of Bugis origin and is given to the people of rugged northern part of the south peninsula. The Toraja are aproto-Malay peoplewhose origins lie in mainland South East Asia, possiblyCambodia. Like many Indonesian ethnic groups, the Toraja were head-hunters and participants in inter-village raids; villages were thus located strategically on hill tops and were heavily fortified. TheDutch colonialistspacified the Toraja and led them to build their villages in valleys and changed their agriculture from aslash and burnvariety towet-ricecultivation, and pig andbuffaloraising.

    The native religion Many of these native practices remain includinganimal sacrifices, ostentatious funeral rites and huge communal feasts. Their native faith only began to change when Protestant missionaries first arrived in 1909 with Dutch colonists. Today, the Toraja are 60 per 10 per centMuslim. The beliefs of the rest are centered on the native religions. The Toraja’s are largely Christian and animist.

    Toraja are divided into different geographic groups, the most important beingMamasa, centred on the isolated Kalumpang valley and theSa’danof the southern Toraja lands. Known as 'Tana Toraja', Sa'dan has the market towns ofMakaleandRantepao. There have never been any strong lasting political grouping within the Toraja. Good roads now reach Tana Toraja fromMakassar, the largest city in Sulawesi. This brings in a seasonal influx of foreign tourists who whilst injecting their money into the local economy have not yet had much lasting impact on local people’s lives.

    Etymology and history

    The word 'Tongkonan' is derived from the Toraja wordtongkon(‘to sit’) and literally means the place where family members meet.

    According to the Torajanmyth, the first tongkonan house was built inheavenbyPuang Matua,the Creator. It was built on four poles and the roof was made ofIndiancloth. When the first Torajan ancestor descended to earth, he imitated the heavenly house and held a big ceremony.[1]An alternative legend, describes the Toraja arriving from the north by boats, but caught in a fierce storm, their boats were so badly damaged that they used them as roofs for their new houses.

    There are three types of tongkonan.Tongkonan layukis the house of the highest authority and it is used as the center of government. The second type istongkonan pekamberan, which belongs to the family group members, who have some authorities in local traditions (known asadat). The last one istongkonan batu, which belongs to the ordinary family aTorajanvillage

    Tongkonanare customarily built facing north-south. Dominating the entire structure is thesaddlebackroof withgablesthat are dramatically upswept. The internal space is small in comparison with the overwhelming roof structure that covers it. Interiors are typically cramped and dark with few windows, however, most of daily life is lived outside the homes, with interiors simply intended for sleeping, storage, meetings and occasionally protection.

    A largetongkonancan take a crew of ten about three months to build and another month to carve and paint the outside walls. Bamboo scaffold is erected for the duration of the construction phase. Traditionallytongue and groovejoineryhas been used without the need for nails. A number of components are pre-fabricated with final assemblyin-situ. Although built on alog cabin-style sub-structure,tongkonanare set on large vertical into their ends to grasp the horizontal tiebeams. The tops of the piles are notched for the longitudinal and transverse beams that support the upper structure. The remainder of the sub-structure is assembledin-situ. The transverse beams are fitted into the notched piles, and then notched to fit the longitudinal beams. Side panels, which are often decorated, are then formed on these main horizontal beams. The distinctive curved roof shape is obtained through a series of vertical hanging spars supporting upwardly angled beams. A vertical free-standing pole supports that portion of the ridge pole extending beyond the bound withrattanare assembled transversely in layers and tied longitudinally to theraftersforming the roof. The under roofing is of bamboo culm. Wooden boards laid over the floors. Nowadays,zincroofing sheets and nails are increasingly used.

    In larger Tana Toraja villages, houses are arranged in a row, side by side, with their roofs on a north-south alignment with the front gable facing north. Opposite each house is the family's rice barn, oralangcustomarily a symbol of family wealth, and together they form a second row of parallel buildings. Houses of the Mamasa Toraja, however, are orientated to the direction of the river with their rice barns aligned perpendicular to the house.[2]

    Thetongkonanat Ke'te' Kesu' is reputed to be 500 years old; too old to trace a direct descendant from the founder to maintain the title that goes with the house. The buildings themselves, however, are constantly maintained and renewed, thus this age refers to the length of time years for which that particular site has been used as a meeting place.

    Sterling Silver Filigree Tongkongan Torajanas Culture Indonesia:

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