The Houses of the Toraja
The ethnic groups in the mountain
regions of southwest and central Sulawesi (Celebes) are known by the name of
Toraja, which has come to mean "those who live upstream" or
"those who live in the mountains". Their name is in fact derived from
the word Raja, which in Sanskrit means "king". The society is
hierarchically structured: the noblemen are called rengnge, the ordinary people
to makaka, and the slaves to kaunan; birth determines which rank a person will
The distinctive features of the traditional houses (tongkonan) of the
Toraja are the "buffalo horns", the roof design and the rich decoration
on the walls. The buffalo is a symbol of status, courage, strength and fighting
Designed as a representation on the universe, the tongkonan is
constructed in three parts: the upper world (the roof), the world of humans
(the middle of the building), and the underworld (the space under the floor).
The highly distinctive roors constructed by the Toraja given rise to various
ingenious interpretations. Certainly the roof is something of deep significance
for the Toraja, and even today they build "modern" (in other words
houses built with cement) houses with such roofs.
1. What is the text about?
a. The culture of Toraja
b. The society of Toraja
c. The distinctive features of traditional houses
d. The decription of a traditional houses of Toraja
e. The ethnic groups of southwest and central
2. “… and even today they bulid modern…”
The underlined word refers to…
d. Toraja people
e. Mountain regions
3. What are the ordinary people commonly called?
4. Which of the following does not symbolize a buffalo?
e. Fighting Spirit