Sacred textile (maa' or mawa')

Sa'dan Toraja
19th century or early 20th century
more object details

General Description

The female figure within the central rondel of this textile is the goddess Indo' Samadenna (Mother All There Is), depicted with a golden spinning wheel she won in a quarrel with her sister and brought to the moon. The companionable rooster stands guard as the goddess guides the wheel and pulls at the thread. Above her are the seven stars of Bunga' (the Pleiades), whose place in the sky determines the beginning of the agricultural cycle. The row of stars beneath her spinning wheel represents Orion's belt, known to the Toraja as the Rice-bearer. The cloth's wide field at either side of the rondel is divided by two lines representing irrigation channels that bring water to the rice fields. Together, all the motifs bring good fortune or blessings, especially to women.

Excerpt from

Roslyn Walker, Label text, 2016.