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>Costume Studies
>>1924 N. Toraja warrior
Subject: warrior
Culture: northern Toraja
Setting: central Sulawesi, late 19th-early 20thc





Context

* Bangs & Kallen 1988 p159
"The Toraja were not 'noble savages,' idyllic people living in a state of natural grace.  Their villages were walled fortresses perched atop small hills; they were warlike, they were fearful and feared and, until the Dutch subdued them in 1907, they were headhunters. [...]
    "During the many hundreds if not thousands of years that the Toraja lived in isolation in the mountains of Sulawesi, their villages were walled in security against their neighbors; fear, tension and warfare were the normal social conditions.  Head-hunting was but one expression of this savage world view: the head of a dead man was considered a source of supernatural power, and to take an enemy's head was not only to capture this power for one's self but to abduct it from the enemy.  Heads were necessary to assure the fertility of crops, the success of new houses and temples, the appeasement of ancestral spirits -- the entire spiritual well-being of the community." 

* 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 Makaassar 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." 


Head Ornament

* Power and gold 1988 p137 
"The sanggori or coiled head ornament seems to have been used in a fairly large area of central and northern Sulawesi.  Bodrogi reports finding the piece far up on the northern peninsula: 'A peculiar copper ornament is the sanggori, which can be found practically everywhere in Central Celebes [Sulawesi], and which occurs also with the Loinang group and the Minahasas' (1972:56).  He identifies the ornament as a sort of magical armor against harmful mystical forces, signifyming heroism in war.  The ornament has the shape of a snake (sometimes with well-defined eyes), but the meaning of this is unclear.  Bodrogi writes that the piece had several functions: for magical healing, amulet protection in battles, and exorcism of demons.  It was also sometimes attached to the top of the pemia, a funeral mask that had the shape of a human face.  When used this way and by people in ritual festivities, the sanggori was worn pointing upward to the right (1972:56-57).  It may also have been worn by warriors to cast back the harmful forces of their enemies through its powerful shine: the coil was polished until it glinted brightly in the sun, and this gleam would repel the magical forces of enemies or simply blind the rival soldiers.  Sometimes the sanggori was worn tilted backward at an angle." 


Sword 

* Draeger 1972 p216 
"A long sword-type blade called kelewang in Indonesian, is known as the penai in Toradjan."

* van Zonneveld 2001 p104
"PENAI  SULAWESI, TORAJA  A machete of the Baree-speaking Toraja. Its blade broadens somewhat at the point. The edge is longer than the back, which turns in a slight curve towards the edge.  The hilt is carved from buffalo horn and has a striking ornamentation.  Most hilts are flattened and turn at a right angle half way up.  Just past this turn we see a protruding ring around the hilt.  At its end we normally see a V-shaped indentation and a number of cross ribs.  At the blade the hilt has a broader part which fits precisely with the broader mouth ofteh scabbard.  At the end of the scabbard we see a small foot with, resembling the hilt, a protruding ring.  The scabbard is often decorated with beautiful carvings.  Popular was a decoration with tin foil only meant for renowned head-hunters.  The penai is carried with a belt around the waist. Therefore the scabbard has on the outer side a thickened protrusion in which two holes are made to run the belt through."  [references omitted]


Shield

* van Zonneveld 2001 p121
"TAMBUK  SULAWESI, TORAJA  An oval shield with narrow tapering points.  It is made of wood, leather or of plaited rattan on a wooden frame."  [references omitted]


Armor

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