Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • The presence of ancestors is an important force in Toraja beliefs. Interaction between the living and the dead remains a part of day-to-day life in rituals and ceremonies. How does this door of a tomb connect the living and the dead?

  • Tattoos, to the Toraja peoples of Indonesia, carry with them deep symbolic significance. The tattoos on this door’s central figure identify him as a warrior. Why do you think a warrior might be heavily tattooed? What is your opinion and view towards tattoos in our society? Consider and discuss similarities and differences that may exist between cultural ideas about tattoos.

  • How are important public figures mourned in our society? How do we choose which public figures merit large public funerals or funerary monuments? What does this say about the priorities or values of our society?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Works of art sculpted in relief combine elements of two-dimensional art with elements of three-dimensional art. Examine Door of a tomb (tutu'liang) with human figure. In what ways does it resemble sculpture and in what ways does it resemble a painting or drawing? How does it create a sense of depth? Create your own relief sculpture using a flat surface and clay.

  • Consider something you would want to protect with a special door. Create a sketch for this door that is beautiful, has patterns, and honors what is being protected by the door.