| Sacred cloth [mawa or ma'a]

Sa'dan Toraja or Mamasa Toraja people
Sulawesi, Indonesia

Sacred cloth [mawa or ma'a] 19th century
cotton, pigments
47.2 (h) x 57.2 (w) cm
Purchased 1981
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 1981.1146


This sacred cloth, displayed during Torajan celebrations of the agricultural cycle and feasts of merit, is woven in a seamless cylinder and painted and printed with carved wooden stamps. The central agricultural scene depicting a crowded corral of water buffaloes evokes abundance and prosperity. Different perspectives allow the large central buffalo to be shown to advantage, its plump torso from the side while the aerial view emphasises its great horn span. The surrounding herd is represented by elongated crosses.

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