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Toraja People of Sulawesi, Indonesia – Photographic celebration of a vibrant ethos by Joo Peter, intrepid traveller, photographer and more.
Living in the mountains of Sulawesi are the Toraja people who are proud, independent and smart. They keep a unique heritage alive and are famous for their Tau Tau figures, effigies of the deceased family members buried in caves in rocks. Major events are funerals in the village with sacrifices of buffalos. White buffalos are the most vulnerable.
When I was searching one of the caves hidden in the jungle for the ancient graveyards with boat-like shaped coffins and beautiful ornamental carvings, I met a rice farmer coming home from work. He told me that he was learning Spanish by himself and had visited Europe some time ago, travelling from Amsterdam to Vienna in winter time. Then he returned to work in the rice fields and built a new traditional house. That’s the way Sulawesi people are. There might be a SUV in front of the home and the mummy of grandma in the back of the house: they know how to balance tradition and modern life.