TONGKONAN,traditional torajan house
TONGKONAN,traditional torajan house Rantepao Reviews
The most striking feature in Tana Toraja Nov 05, 2009
Tongkonan,literally a family meeting place is a house built on wooden piles topped with a massive saddleback thatched roof(today often with corrugated zinc).
This roof is said to represent the horns of a buffalo,the must prized animal there and the house its head.Others say that the roof rearing up at either end is a boat with the stern and the bow.
The wooden body,assembled in tongue-and-groove fashion without nails is small in contrast to the roof with cramped and dark rooms,narrow windows and low doors.
The gables and wall panels are decorated according the social status and the family tradition with red,yellow and black painted engravings.
The front pole supporting the gable is decorated with numerous buffalo horns according to the wealth of the family,as do the height of the house,the amount of rice barns...
Usually built facing north in reference of the creator,Puang Matua,the houses are arranged in a row,side by side with opposite each house a rice barn which together form a second row.
Tongkonan are not ONLY houses but a reminder of the noble ancestor of the family.Originally only the nobility had the right to build tongkonan(commoners living in smaller houses) which symbolise the unity of the family,its meeting place and may not be bought or sold.
Nowadays their owners live in modern houses using them only for ritual ceremonies.
For those interested in the tongkonan's social significance,construction...check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/tongkonan
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