House Model

Artist: Unknown

Culture/People: Toraja

Place: Southeast Asia

Media: Wood, bamboo, and pigment

Dims: 28.25 x 33.5 x 8.5 in, (71.76 x 85.09 x 21.59 cm)

Date: Mid 20th century

Description: Ritual houses are not the first thing that comes to mind when I think about art exhibits. When I think of art exhibits I think about figurines made of recycled materials, statues made of clay, or small circus replicas, like we saw when we visited the Folk Art Museum [in 2016]. However, the Toraja model house from Southeast Asia does not conform to these expectations. The model house is a symbol of “family identity and tradition” represented by the “designs carved on each tongkonan.” Each design has a different meaning. A buffalo head represents prosperity and ceremonial sacrifices. Gold knives mean heirlooms and the wealth of high status people. —Danielle Cata (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo) Hands-On Curator, 2016

RTC No: AS0082
Gift of Ralph T. Coe, 2011

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