| Facade of a rice granary [alang]

Sa'dan Toraja people
Tondon village, south Sulawesi, Indonesia

Facade of a rice granary [alang] 19th century
wood, paint
211.0 (h) x 198.0 (w) x 10.0 (d) cm
Fowler Museum at University of California, Los Angeles
Gift of Dr and Mrs Robert Kuhn
Photograph: Don Cole


The houses and rice granaries of the Toraja are among the most elaborate architectural structures of Southeast Asia. Resembling great ancestral ships, immense curved rooves peak high over brightly painted and carved gables that are covered entirely with motifs and patterns of abundance and protection.

The existence and wellbeing of each house is dependant on the security of its rice harvest—the lubricant of ceremony and the seeds for future crops. Granary facades, accordingly, are adorned with auspicious symbols. Here circular sun motifs, buffalo and chickens are depicted along with other images of plenty found also on the sacred ceremonial textiles of the Toraja. The rank and wealth of the granary owner is symbolised by the gold daggers and the noblemen astride horses.

Subscribe to newsletter

You can also follow developments on twitter or facebook