Male figure and water buffalo head from a house façade

CULTURE:
Mamasa Toraja people
DATE:
Early 20th century
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General Description

This hardwood carving is one of a pair that came from the façade of an aristocratic ancestor house (tongkonan) in Osango, Mamasa Toraja. A male warrior figure is shown astride a water buffalo, a symbol of status and ritual wealth throughout the Toraja area. The figure wears an elaborate circular collar and an apronlike pendant that hangs from his waist. Both elements of dress may represent an ancient tradition, as might the chevronlike tattoos on his legs.

Adapted from

  • "Male figure and water buffalo head from a house façade," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Bonnie Pitman (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press), 119.

  • Roxana Waterson, "Male figure and water buffalo head from a house façade," in Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art, ed. Reimar Schefold in collaboration with Steven Alpert (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013), 186.

Web Resources

UNESCO
Learn about Tana Toraja Traditional Settlements