Sabtu, 04 April 2009

The Importance of the roof

Throughout Indonesia, most accentuation and elaboration is placed on the roof, which is pervasively understood as being the most sacred part of the house and thus is the most grandiose. The great curved, arching and peaking roofs of the minagkabau houses are known world wide as an architecture feat, as are the roofs of the batak people of Sumatra. Which are similar in their upturned ands to those of the Toraja. Even the houses of south Nias, one of the more isolated island of west Indonesian, show a predilection for elaborate roof form. The same extended, outward sloping roof is found as far away as Micronesia and new guinea. In the Purari Delta are of New Guinea, the ravi o men’s club houses share this stylistic feature, as do Sepic River area meeting houses and some Trobriand Island clan houses. The earliest known representation of similar architecture styles are found on bronze age Dong Son drums, from ancient Dong Son culture in that is today Vietnam. That structures with saddle roofs are found throughout Oceania and Micronesia may provide evidence of the reaching of dong son culture as far away as Micronesia and New Guinea. Other evidence supporting the arrival of Dong Son culture in New Guinea are the skeuomorph exes, imitations of bronze exes carved in stone, found in New Guinea by Karl Heider.

Some Toraja say that the roofs of their houses are shaped to represent the horns of a buffalo – the most prized animal in Toraja view and ritual. Exterior decoration such as carvings of buffalo heads, ears and hoof prints are commonly seen adorning the house of high Ranking Toraja. Buffalo tails are used as door handles, and wooden “KABONGO” or figures of buffalo heads are attached to the front of prominent houses. Buffalo trophies displayed on the exterior post supporting the extended eave are symbols of wealth and “generosity” – each trophy is a memento for a past feast given – and coofins are often built in the shape of the Buginese prahu or bots which some believe brought the first toraja to sulawesi from Burma, China, and Melanesi. Still others believe that the upsweeping ends of the house are proof that the Toraja descend from the heavens. The first Toraja reportedly slid down one end of the out – stretched roof end when he first came to the earth, and the same Toraja believe the one day theywill slide up the other side back to heaven, thereby completing the circle of life.

Traditionally , the roofs of the houses were covered with thatch, but today, corrugated zinc largely replace the natural fiber. In the case of the toraja, minangkabau, and toba batak, the use of iron and zinc has made it possible to extend upwards even more dramatically the ends of the house. The traditional low slope which is found on older houses has been replaced by an upsweep in the eaves so acute that the eaves no longer protect the house from rain as they once did . On the other land, an increasing need to reaffirm a sense of toraja identity seems to be correlated with the ever increasing lope of the roof in a more and more deliberate and marked fashion. Various aspects thet constitute toraja identity will be taken into consideration in a final section of the paper in an attempt to understand how toraja identity evolves in relation to changing architecture and culture.

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Variations in house forms

Difference in status and wealth of the occupants is reflected in the height of the house, in the amount and styles and in the number of posts upon which a granary is built, usually varying between four, six, and more rarely eight. Not all Toraja live in ancestral houses of the same magnitude, although all claim trace affiliation to one. Originally, the Toraja were divided into your lineages: the “gold stake” caste know as tana bulaan, the “iron stake” or tana bassi, the “palm stake” caste, tana karurung and finally the tana kuakua or “grass stake” lineage which was the traditional slave caste. The word tana signifies the posts marking a boundary, symbolic perhaps of the posts used in the construction of a particular caste’s dwelling. Toraja of the lower caste usually live in houses called banua soba, small one or two room dwelling supported by four posts and without carvings. Others live in slightly bigger houses called banua tamben characterized by a blog house base. Still other Toraja of higger caste live in the banua galompin. House in the shape of tongkonan, but which are distinguished through their lack of decoration.

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Anthropomorphic in Toraja

The house is an anthropomorphic structure. Many of its rafters and beams are named after bones in the human body. The house is compared to a womb, has a navel, and a head and a posterior, metaphors for the front and back door. Carvings on the outside walls of the house, such as buffalo ears and heads, are believed to add visual and auditory capacities. The posts supporting the structure are referred to as the feet of the house. The breasts that are in some cases ( although seldom today ) carved in the wals of the house further reinforce the association between houses and women.

In the construction of a house, specific woods most be used for different parts of the house, in particular those parts of the house which carry heavy symbolic meaning. The wood of the jackfruit tree for example is used in the fashioning of the a’riri posi or “ navel post”, the source of the sumange within the house, this post, although lacking in architecture function, is considered one of the most important features of the house, for it represent the cosmic axis which joins the three separate levels or “worlds” within the house, and firmly anchors them to the ground. The post pierces the house floor directly at its center, and comes up into the sali ( see detailed sketch of house plan). A house which lacks an a’riri posi is thought to wander aimlessly about, as a lost soul.

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house and traditional ceremony in Toraja

Toraja ritual is divided equally between the rites of the east and those of the west, also know as rambu tuka’ and rambu solo’ translated as “smoke rising” and “smoke descending” ceremonies. The smoke rising ceremonies are associated with life, rising sun, birth, fertility, the deities of the north and the east, and with the renewal of life energies in the case of the house blessing ceremonies. Smoke descending ceremonies on the other hand deal with death, the setting sun, the west, and ancestors and spirits of the south.

The Toraja strive to accomplish a series of expensive, power-generating rituals that deal explicitly with the house. The ma’bua ceremony for instance is the last and highest ritual which can be performed for the house. This expensive ritual once conducted, future generations of the clan will continue to benefit from enhanced prosperity, fertility and well being, as well as from the prestige and status that such a ceremony affords in the eyes of other villagers. Not only does the ma’bua serve individual and clan-specific interest, it also serves as a way to strengthen social ties among villagers, as the completion o the ma’bua in one house is enough to bring good fortune to the entire village. Its mere organization, which may take monts of planning (not to mention the years the family may have spent accumulating necessary wealth), requires the help of the entire village as the dwelling must be refurbished and decorated, food must be prepared, and a variety of animist priests and officiating Toraja must be present.

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Minggu, 15 Februari 2009


House in Toraja are thought of as living entities in the village, imbued with the same vital energy, anima or breath that all Toraja share. The concept of sumange is prevalent throughout many Indonesian societies and traditional animist cultures. The atoni know it as smanaf, the sakuddei of siberut as simagere, the malay as semangat, and the savunese hemanga . Periodic reconstruction of the Toraja house prevent its “death” by ensuring a constant fresh source of energy, and also by perpetuating the sense of identity and rootedness felt by dwellers in a particular house. The upkeep of the house assures a continuous presence and status for the dwellers and their ancestors, who are believed to be very much alive in the form of spirits.

The grain barns or alang which make up the other half of the Toraja village stand opposite the houses, facing them, on the right side of the village. The stretch of land caught between the barns and houses is referred to as the ulu ba’ba or “central head”, and is the communal ground where daily chore and some ritual activity take place, and where children play. Similar patterns of village arrangement are found in other Indonesian societies far away from Toraja, as in nias and north Sumatra ( figures 12 to14). Even the space inside many indonesian houses such as minangkabau and toba houses resembles in appearance if not in use the spatial layout of the Toraja village. The importance of a shared central area where members of house interact during the day is represented by a long hallway running the length of the house, dividing the space in two halves. This seemingly prototypical Indonesian village layout composed of two halves and a central area has eve influenced the design of more formal architecture such as the Jakarta sukarno hatta international airport .

The people who make up the village are interrelated, either through marriage, or consanguinity. Upon marriage, a house nay be built in the village of origin of either spouse ( although uxorilocal marriage patterns are the most frequent as women inherit the houses), or in a new plot of unclaimed land. The latter however is much less common, as families tend to stay close to one another since they depend on each other’s cooperation to built these houses as they do to cultivate the land. Another motive for remaining close by area the ceremonies such as house blessing, funerals, and harvest rites that must be carried out in the presence and cooperation of the entire clan and extended family.

In preparation for the building of a new house or village, the village area is cleared of all trees and plants, although dense vegetation surrounds the village, thereby providing additional shelter and protection and the certain sense of privacy from intrudes. It is not uncommon when walking through the forest to stumble upon a village which had until then been hidden from view. Sometimes, the Toraja refer to the area outside the village as the “wilderness” or the place of disorder and danger. The chaotic nature of the outside of the village contrast sharply with the emphasis placed on the maintenance of order within the village.

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Senin, 02 Februari 2009

House and architecture

tongkonan imageWater buffalos form the basis of wealth in toraja society. Land, bridal wealth and divorce payments are paid off in terms of buffaloes. In all major ceremonies, buffaloes are sacrificed and offered to the ancestors. Funeral ceremonies and house blessings play such an important role in toraja society that eve those called Christian still practice a subdued form of animist ceremonies.

The name for the toraja dwelling of nobility is tongkonan, a word derived from the Indonesian verb “to sit” or tongkon. Seating arrangement is an important concept in many south east asian cultures, visibly marking hierarchical distinctions of rank. The general word for house in toraja is banua, whose meaning, depending on the context, can come to signify either house, universe, village, or heaven, further emphasizing the importance of the idea of the house as a microcosm .

The house is oriented along the cardinal points, the north being the most sacred direction. A house should always face north, as it is the direction of puang matua, the highest god of aluk to dolo religion. The back gable of the house faces south, direction of puya, land of the souls after death. The northern fa├žade of the house is called the lindo banua, or "face" of the house or also ulu' uai or "head of the river". The south end of the house is called the pollo banua or polo uai meaning the "posterior" of the house or the tail of the river. Indeed, the great sa'dan driver after which the sa'dan toraja name themselves does in fact flow north to south. Houses are built close to one another, with no clear distinction marking the limits of personal or private space.

As previously mentioned, the architecture of the toraja houses is designed to represent the microcosm, as are the majority of pile-built dwellings of Indonesia. In addition to fulfilling symbolic purposes, pile houses offer many practical advantages in the hot tropics, such as ventilation and cool temperatures within the house. Toraja houses are symbolically divided into three levels corresponding to traditional Austronesia cosmology which divides the universe into the underworld (represented by the lower part of the house), the earth (represented by the human dwelling platform), and the upper world, known in Indonesian as the alam ghaib ( represented by the roof space, where the heirlooms are kept). In this manner, houses establish the link between the spirit realm, the human world and the underworld.

In the human dwelling area of the house, between the spirit abode and the underworld, the length of the long and relatively narrow space is almost always divided into three section crosswise: these are the central room or Sali where the hearth is located on the eastern half of the room; the tangga', or north bedroom of the children, and the sumbung, or parents' bedroom at the south end. The toraja do not sleep with their heads pointing west or south, as these are the directions those associated with death and after life.

The space inside the toraja house is laid out in the form of one long narrow corridor stretching from the main door at the north end to the back bedroom at the south. Few windows provide limited access to natural sunlight, and living space is surprisingly limited. Although some houses have interior doors that could separate each of the three rooms, they are generally left open so as not to hamper the direct line of vision from one end of the house to the other. In some cases, flimsy bits of cloth are hung up at the thresholds of the rooms, whose purpose, it seems, are as more to signal the points of transitions from one space to another as they are to ensure minimal privacy. This theory is supported by the cases in which neither door nor curtain exists, yet a slightly raised cross-beam at the transition point between two rooms is clearly evident.

To show the transition from the level to the spirit world in the roof, a cross-beam called the pata sere or “cat bridge” runs the length of the house from north to south separating the two realms. In toraja mythology, the cat plays a central role: the cat is the guardian of the bridge that links the middle of the world ( human domain) to the to of the world ( spirit realm). The cat allows entrance to good toraja, while thieves are chased down to the lowest level of the world, the animal world, to wallow in buffalo excrement.

At the top most part of the front and back gable are located two small triangles known as lalang deata or spirit windows. These provide both an entrance at the north and an exit at the south for the spirits who live in the roof. The spirits of the ancestors of the house who dwell in the roof may be as dangerous as they are benevolent if not placated through ceremony and offerings. For this reason, the house must continuously be rebuilt and restored during the ceremonies such as the house blessings, conducted in order to pacify spirits and to keep them well and energized. Not performing these ceremonies could result in a “weak” or “sick” house which is believed to be a negative and harmful force for the village. Thus the well-being of the house is believed to be directly related to the well-being of the village.

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Selasa, 13 Januari 2009

80 Penumpang KM.Teratai Warga Toraja, Samarinda: Kepolisian Daerah Kalimantan Timur akan memberangkatkan perwakilan keluarga penumpang Kapal Teratai Prima untuk menjemput korban. Sementara itu perwakilan PT Pelayaran Indonesia (Pelni) Kabupaten Tana Toraja, mengumumkan bahwa 80 orang di antara penumpang Kapal Teratai adalah warga Tana Toraja.

Hari ini, puluhan keluarga penumpang Kapal Teratai Prima yang tenggelam di perairan Baturoro, Majene, Sulawesi Barat, masih mendatangi Posko Pendataan di Markas KP3 Kepolisian Kota Besar Samarinda. Kecemasan jelas terbayang dari wajah-wajah mereka.

Warga datang ke posko untuk melaporkan keluarga dengan menyertakan foto terbaru kerabat mereka. Keluarga korban sempat berdialog dengan Kepala Polda Kaltim Inspektur Jenderal Polisi Andi Masmiyat. Menurut Andi, Polda Kaltim akan membantu memberangkatkan keluarga ke Sulawesi, untuk menjemput korban.

Dari data sementara di Posko Pendataan Markas KP3 Samarinda, hingga saat ini sudah 103 penumpang asal Samarinda, yang dilaporkan oleh keluarga mereka. Sementara itu, perwakilan PT Pelni Kabupaten Tana Toraja, mengumumkan bahwa 80 orang dari seluruh penumpang yang menumpang Kapal Teratai Prima adalah warga Tana Toraja.

Hingga kini belum ada keluarga korban yang mendatangi kantor perwakilan Pelni. Umumnya, keluarga korban panik dan langsung menuju ke Parepare, untuk mencari informasi tentang keadaan keluarga mereka. PT Pelni Cabang Toraja mulai mengurus asuransi terhadap penumpang resmi yang menjadi korban. Mereka berharap keluarga korban bisa segera mengurus ahli waris untuk penyaluran asuransi.(DSY) sumber :Metrotvnews

Sementara Itu..
RANTEPAO--Bupati Toraja Utara, YS Dalipang membentuk tim kemanusiaan untuk turun serta dalam proses pencarian dan memberi bantuan kepada korban karamnya KM Teratai Prima.

Malam tadi, Tim Kemanusiaan Toraja Utara yang diketuai Hendrik Talatimang dari Dinas Kesehatan, meninggalkan Rantepao. Bersama timnya, Hendrik akan memimpin proses pencarian dan evakuasi korban tersebut.

''Kami berharap tim Toraja Utara bisa ambil peran dalam proses pencarian dan evakuasi terhadap korban karamnya KM Teratai Prime di perairan Mamuju,'' ujar YS Dalipang malam tadi.

Pembentukan Tim Kemanusiaan Toraja Utara itu didasarkan instruksi Bupati Dalipang, terhadap korban KM Teratai Prime. Menurutnya, warga Toraja --Tana Toraja dan Toraja Utara-- banyak yang berada di KM Teratai Prime. Makanya, Pemkab Torut langsung membentuk tim kemanusiaan untuk kepentingan korban kapal motor tersebut.

Tim kemanusiaan tersebut beranggotakan Dinas Kesehatan, Dinas Sosial dan Kesbang Torut. ''Karena, ini merupakan bentuk bantuan kemanusiaan kita, bukan saja karena ada masyarakat Torut yang menjadi penumpang, tapi untuk semua penumpang yang menjadi korban karamnya kapal tersebut," katanya.

Mendengar instruksi tersebut, Hendrik Talatimang langsung membentuk tim yang diketuai dirinya sendiri. Tim tersebut beranggotakan Melanton Buntulobo dari Kesbang dan Pither Patabang dari Dinas Sosial.

Tim itu sendiri sudah bertolak dari Torut menuju Parepare malam tadi. Mereka juga dilengkapi dengan peralatan medis dan kebutuhan lain untuk menolong korban kapal tenggelam.


Salah satu Warga Luwu yang bernama Rismanto (27) yang beralamat di Desa Salutubu, Kecamatan Walenrang Utara, Kabupaten Luwu, masuk dalam daftar penumpang hilang tenggelamanya Kapal Motor (KM) Teratai Prima di perairan Baturoro Majene Sulawesi Barat.

Menurut Adi, salah seorang keluarga dekat Rismanto kepada Palopo Pos, Senin 12 Januari kemarin, bahwa keberadaan Rismanto di kampung halamannya, Salutubu untuk menjenguk ayahandanya yang sakit.
Setelah beberapa hari di kampung, Rismanto pamit pulang berhubung masa izin sudah mau berakhir. Rismanto adalah salah satu Pegawai negeri Sipil (PNS) di Pemkot Samarinda.

Setelah mendengar Kapal Motor Teratai Prima, keluarga langsung menghubungi kerabat yang ada di Majene dan Parepare untuk mengetahui perkembangan selanjutnya.

''Keluarga kini sudah berada di Parepare. Adapun ciri-ciri dari Rismanto adalah tinggi sekitar 170 cm, badan agak kurus, hidung mancung. Olehnya itu, kami dari pihak keluarga berharap kepada Tim SAR, apabila saudara kami Rismanto didapat apakah hidup atau sudah meninggal, harap dibawa ke kampung halamannya di Salutubu. Berhubung kartu identitas Rismanto kemungkinan besar beralamat di Samarinda,''ungkapnya dengan agak sedih.
sumber :palopo pos

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