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Long after a Torajo funeral was over, the tao-tao figures still served an important role. They would be placed along with other ancestor's tao-taos in wooden balconies, so they could watch over the bones of the deceased and the villagers below.


They are pointed facing outwards, looking after the living inhabitants, the living relatives and descendants of the deceased.


The tao-tao's hand positions are always the same. One hand is vertical and the other is palm up. One is making an offering and the other receiving one.


That's a pretty good explanation for the role of the ancestors in

general. In the sense that it's a process of reciprocation, in that the good will of the ancestors is not given freely. It's a two-way street between the ancestors and the living. And I think the tao-tao hand gestures, beautifully express that.

Step23-Female Ancestor Figure Tau-tau, Toraja Culture, Sulawesi, Indonesia

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