Posted by: Johan Normark | May 6, 2009

More on Toraja burials

There is still more to write about from last year’s trip to Tanah Toraja. This post shows some of the other burial locations we visited. My memory is not as good as it once was so I do not remember the names of these places.

Apart from cliff burials like the one at Lemo there are also several burials located within or attached to karst formations such as caves and rockshelters. These burials are usually older than the ones carved into the cliffs.

Cave with coffins

Cave with coffins

The cave floor is covered with scattered remains of bones and coffins are placed on wooden beams high above the floor.

Coffins on wooden beams inside the cave

Coffins on wooden beams inside the cave

At another location the coffins are placed on wooden beams inserted into the vertical wall of a large rockshelter. The ground is also here covered with human remains.

Coffins stacked into the wall of a rock shelter

Coffins stacked into the wall of a rock shelter

Like the first place these coffins contain the remains of whole families.

Several skeletons in each coffin

Several skeletons in each coffin

The coffins come in three shapes; buffalo, pig and house. These shapes represent the three classes of Toraja social assemblages.

Pig-shaped coffin

Pig-shaped coffin

At a third location we saw the burial location for infants. A hole is carved into a hollow tree and the dead baby is inserted into this hole which is sealed. After some time the hole is naturally sealed by the tree itself. If I remember correctly it is the belief that the dead baby’s soul merges with the tree and reaches the sky through the branches and leaves.

Burial tree for infants

Burial tree for infants

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Responses

  1. i’ve never been to tana toraja
    but i could imagined how lovely
    the values is in !!!

  2. I am not sure what “values is in” means.

    • I mean historical values possessed by peoples in tana toraja very interested !!!


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