Traditional House of South Sulawesi

South Sulawesi (Indonesian: Sulawesi Selatan, short form Sulsel) is a province of Indonesia, located on the western southern peninsula of Sulawesi Island. The province is bordered by Central Sulawesi province to the north, South East Sulawesi province to the east and West Sulawesi province to the west (West Sulawesi province was split from South Sulawesi in 2004). It is the most populated and densest province on Sulawesi Island, its capital, Makassar, is a major regional center and the largest city on the island. The Selayar Islands archipelago is part of the province.


One of Famous Ethnic group indigenous in South Sulawesi are Toraja. Their population is approximately 650,000, of which 450,000 still live in the regency of Tana Toraja ("Land of Toraja").Most of the population is Christian, and others are Muslim or have local animist beliefs known as aluk ("the way"). The Indonesian government has recognized this animist belief as Aluk To Dolo ("Way of the Ancestors").

Coffin Carriage
The word toraja comes from the Bugis language's to riaja, meaning "people of the uplands". The Dutch colonial government named the people Toraja in 1909.Torajans are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked-roof traditional houses known as Tongkonan, and colorful wood carvings. Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days.

Before the 20th century, Torajans lived in autonomous villages, where they practised animism and were relatively untouched by the outside world. In the early 1900s, Dutch missionaries first worked to convert Torajan highlanders to Christianity. When the Tana Toraja regency was further opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it became an icon of tourism in Indonesia: it was exploited by tourism developers and studied by anthropologists. By the 1990s, when tourism peaked, Toraja society had changed significantly, from an agrarian model — in which social life and customs were outgrowths of the Aluk To Dolo—to a largely Christian society.

History of Tongkonan House 

Head Cow Ornament as Symbol Leader
The word 'Tongkonan' is derived from the Toraja word tongkon (‘to sit’). Tongkonan are the center of Torajan social life. The rituals associated with the tongkonan are important expressions of Torajan spiritual life, and therefore all family members are impelled to participate, because symbolically the tongkonan represents links to their ancestors and to living and future kin.

Rice Barn
According to the Torajan myth, the first tongkonan house was built in heaven by Puang Matua, the Creator. It was built on four poles and the roof was made of Indian cloth. When the first Torajan ancestor descended to earth, he imitated the heavenly house and held a big ceremony, An alternative legend, describes the Toraja arriving from the north by boats, but caught in a fierce storm, their boats were so badly damaged that they used them as roofs for their new houses.

In front there tongkonan rice barn, called 'Alang'. Poles are made of rice-palms ('Bangah') is smooth, so the mice can not go up into the barn. At the front of the barn there are a variety of carvings, including a picture of chicken and sun, a symbol to resolve the matter.

Coffin Bearers
The Toraja of Philosophy, Tongkonan regarded as the 'mother', while the rice barn/Alang as the 'father'. Tongkonan works for residential, social activities, ceremonies, and the foster family. The interior is divided into three sections, namely northern, central, and south. Room in the north called 'tangalok', serves as a living room, where children sleep, also a place to put offerings. Tengahdisebut the room 'Sali', serves as a dining room, family gatherings, where lay the dead, also the kitchen. The south room is called 'sumbung', a room for the head of the family. South of this room is also considered a source of disease.

The dead bodies/corpse are not buried immediately but they keep in tongkonan. Before the funeral, the corpse are regarded as 'sick people'. In order not to foul, the corpse was embalmed with formalin such traditional ingredients, which are made of betel leaves and sap of banana. If the funeral will be conducted, the corpse will keep in the rice barn as long 3 days. Toraja traditional coffin called 'Erong', shaped pig for the female and buffalo for men. For the nobility,  the ​Erong shaped like as  traditional house.
There are three types of Tongkonan, as such; 
  1. Tongkonan layuk is the house of the highest authority and it is used as the center of government. 
  2. Tongkonan pekamberan, which belongs to the family group members, who have some authorities in local traditions (known as adat). 
  3. Tongkonan batu, which belongs to the ordinary family members.

Construction of Tongkonan House 

Tongkonan Old House
Tongkonan are customarily built facing north-south. Dominating the entire structure is the saddleback roof with gables that are dramatically upswept. The internal space is small in comparison with the overwhelming roof structure that covers it. Interiors are typically cramped and dark with few windows, however, most of daily life is lived outside the homes, with interiors simply intended for sleeping, storage, meetings and occasionally protection.

A large tongkonan can take a crew of ten about three months to build and another month to carve and paint the outside walls. Bamboo scaffold is erected for the duration of the construction phase. Traditionally tongue and groove joinery has been used without the need for nails. A number of components are pre-fabricated with final assembly in-situ. Although built on a log-cabin style sub-structure, tongkonan are set on large vertical wooden piles with mortises cut into their ends to grasp the horizontal tie beams.

The tops of the piles are notched for the longitudinal and transverse beams that support the upper structure. The remainder of the sub-structure is assembled in-situ. The transverse beams are fitted into the notched piles, and then notched to fit the longitudinal beams. Side panels, which are often decorated, are then formed on these main horizontal beams. The distinctive curved roof shape is obtained through a series of vertical hanging spars supporting upwardly angled beams. A vertical free-standing pole supports that portion of the ridge pole extending beyond the ridge purlin. Bamboo staves bound with rattan are assembled transversely in layers and tied longitudinally to the rafters forming the roof. The under roofing is of bamboo culm. Wooden boards laid over thick hardwood joists form the floors. Nowadays, zinc roofing sheets and nails are increasingly used.

In larger Tana Toraja villages, houses are arranged in a row, side by side, with their roofs on a north-south alignment with the front gable facing north. Opposite each house is the family's rice barn, or alang customarily a symbol of family wealth, and together they form a second row of parallel buildings. Houses of the Mamasa Toraja, however, are orientated to the direction of the river with their rice barns aligned perpendicular to the house.

Tongkonan House Village
The tongkonan at Ke'te' Kesu' is reputed to be 500 years old; too old to trace a direct descendant from the founder to maintain the title that goes with the house. The buildings themselves, however, are constantly maintained and renewed, thus this age refers to the length of time years for which that particular site has been used as a meeting place.

Ornament of Tongkonan 

Ornament on Painting Process
Gables and the outside walls of tongkonan (im kool) are often decorated by red, black, and yellow colored wood, with patterns carved into it. Toraja society, however, is highly hierarchical and traditionally villagers have traditionally only been able to decorate their houses in a manner to their social status. Most carvings on tongkonan represent prosperity and fertility with the individual designs represent what is important to the particular family. Other houses have no carvings or painting; their surfaces are simply bare weather-worn timbers.

Exterior Ornament
Circular motifs represent the sun, the symbol of power. Golden kris ('daggers') motifs symbolise wealth. Geometric spiralling designs and motifs are used that include buffalo heads - representing a prosperity and ritual sacrifice. Cockerels are represented in the colours of red, white, yellow and black; colors which represent the indigenous Toraja religion the Aluk To Dolo (the Way of the Ancestors).

Black symbolises death and darkness; yellow, God’s blessing and power; white, the colour of flesh and bone symbolising purity; and red, the colour of blood symbolising human life. The pigments are sourced from common materials; black from soot; white from lime; red and yellow from colored earth; and tuak (palm wine) is used to strengthen the colors.

Many of the motifs are identical to those on Dong Son kettle drums whereas other motifs. Another source of the motifs is thought to be Hindu-Buddhist, particularly the square cross motifs that may have alternatively been copied from Indian trade cloths. Christian toraja use the cross as a decorative symbol of their faith. Payment for the decorating artists has traditionally been in the form of buffalo. Water is also a common theme in designs and represents life, fertility and prolific rice fields. Buffalo horns hung in a vertical array on the front gable are a sign of prestige and are customarily used to signify the wealth of the household. Furthermore, a buffalo head made from painted wood and buffalo-dung, but crowned with real horns, is mounted on the fa├žades.


Karampuang House
In addition to the home Toraja, South Sulawesi have ancient house that supposedly is a meeting place of the kings of the tribe of Makassar (Karaeng), and the kings of Bugis (Puang), so finally called Karaengpuang or Karampuang, The house is located in Tompo Bulu Village of sub-district Bulupoddo approximately 30 km from the downtown of Sinjai. Karangpuang is a name of a sub-village, which has unique history and culture. 

Floating House
The originality of the culture is still maintained, even, to date. The area where the followers of the cultures are resided is deemed as a special territory of the karangpuang Tribe in which two traditional Houses are constructed with ancient Buginess architecture. One of the house is occupied by To Manoa (king) and the other is occupied by Gella (chief of tribe government). The tradional house of karampuang, basically, symbolized a woman. It is made traditionally derived from the tribe forest. When the houses need to be renovated, the wood should be taken also from the tribe forest. The wood should be pulled manually and not allowed to be put one one shoulder. The ceremony of moving the wood by pulling from the forest to the traditional house is recognized as Madduik.
Floating House
The other uniqueness is that the tribe apparatus of karangpuang is still complete and well maintained and functional from generation to generation until now. The lifestyle of the community to present is still original despite of their willingness to open to the globalization wind. Of ten lontaraks document (manuscript written in traditional character) held by the chairman of tribe board, it is mentioned that the first man (To Manurung) in Sinjai comes from Karampuang, popularly known as Karampulu’e. The place where the first man come to is also recognized as te meeting place between Karaeng (Makassar) an Puang (Bugis).

That is why that finally the place is named Karampuang. One of the tourism agenda.which every one can view in the Karampuang Territory is ritual ceremony of Mappagau Sihanua (One Village Party), which is always attended by thousands visitor from anywhere as it is deemed as one of the ritual activities in expressing the gradefullnes upon their success in harvesting. The traditional ceremony is carried out for one week. During the ceremony, various attractions are also presented. The peak ceremony is conducted in the top of karangpuang Mountain.

Bugis Boat Handmade