Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1907 Toraja to kapua
Subjectto kapua 'big man' warrior
Setting: tribal warfare, anti-colonial resistance, Sulawesi highlands late 19th - mid-20thc

Event Photos

* Blair/Blair 1988 p70-71 
"We had read that the Toraja hunted heads until as recently as the 1920s, but they were feared by their neighbours less for their ferocity than for their magic, part of which was their unnerving reputation for being able to cause the dead to walk. Toraja warriors had to die in their own 'Rante,' or village circle, if their souls were successfully to return to the stars. Should they die beyond the Rante, then their shamans, the stories went, could quicken their corpses long enough for them to walk home under their own steam, even without their heads. Various anthropologists had remarked on this zombie tradition -- but in Makassar Werner [Meyer] had given us a supplementary twist to the story. 
      "The occupying Japanese forces had apparently been so terrified by the Toraja that after a few peremptory massacres they had left them to themselves. On several occasions, according to Werner's informants, groups of Toraja resistance fighters had been taken into the forest by the Japanese, machine-gunned, and left there as a warning to others. Later in the evening their horrified executioners had reported encountering them again, in serious disrepair, shambling in single file back through the forest towards their Rante." 

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Field Notes