Sanggori Headdress Ornament

19th Century


Bugis People
Early 20th Century

Architectural Wood Carving
from Raja's residence
Mamasa, Central Sulawesi

The Orchid Isle-so named after its shape, is home to the Buginese and the Macassarese-highly successful traders, the Mamasa and the Sa’dan Toraja peoples. The Sa’dan Toraja were practically unknown to the Western world until the end of the Nineteenth century. They cultivated rice, built beautiful houses and practiced headhunting. Great attention was paid to burying the dead. For high ranking individuals burial vaults were hewn out of cliffs high up, a waterbuffalo or effigy of the person carved into the vault door or a free standing likeness of the dead namely “Tau Tau” which was placed in front of the chamber on a platform-an ancestor who guards their descendents. Today Christianity is widely practiced and these traditions are dying out, in fact, only somewhat kept alive by tourism. In Mamasa, saddlebacked carved and painted houses resembling that of Toraja belong to high ranking people decorated with guardian statues of buffalo and horses. In central Sulawesi one finds Sanggori-a snake like coiled head ornament used by warriors in battle, for magical healing and exorcism of demons as well as ceremonially affixed on funerary masks.

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