A polychrome wood model of a Toraja dwelling or tongkonan

Indonesia, Sulawesi, Tana Toraja, early 20th century

H. 60 x L. 94 x D. 33 cm

Provenance:
- Seminary Rosa Stichting, Nijmegen

- Instituut voor Kulturele Antropologie van de Katholieke Universiteit, Nijmegen
- With Michel Thieme, Amsterdam

A wonderful wooden model of a dwelling, showing the distinctive roofline that has a shape of a boat, or star ship as the Toraja call it. The vernacular architecture of the Toraja houses in South Sulawesi is known as the Tongkonan style. The decorations have a purpose and refer to the family’s status. In the original Toraja society,

only nobles had the right to build tongkonan. Less wealthy people, for example, descendants of enslaved people, lived in smaller and less decorated homes called banua. For two comparable models in the collection of the Museum for World Cultures in the Netherlands, see inv.no. TM-1724-1 and inv.no. TM-46-2.