Collection Description

Culture Name

Eastern Toraja

Culture Description

The Eastern Toraja are Bare'e speakers. The name Toraja is derived from a word meaning "people of the mountains" and applies to the people of the high mountain ranges and interior valleys of central Celebes (Sulawesi) in Indonesia. The Eastern Toraja, primarily dry rice cultivators, are located primarily around Lake Poso and the valleys of the Poso, Laa, and Kalaena rivers.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Asia --Southeast Asia



OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in this eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Eastern Toraja file consists of five documents, one in English (Downs 1956) and the other four are translations from the Dutch (Adriani and Kruyt: 1950-1951). Kruyt was a missionary and Adriani was a linguist. Their combined fieldwork stretched from the 1890s to the 1940s. The four Adriani and Kruyt works making up the bulk of this file provide a very comprehensive study of traditional Toraja ethnography, ranging in coverage generally from the precontact to early contact periods. The monograph by Downs, an anthropologist, is a critical analysis of the works of Adriani and Kruyt and is a more concise and manageable summary of Eastern Toraja culture, although its major concentration is on religion.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The culture summary was written by John Beierle in September 1996, and supplemented with additional information from the article, "Toradja" by Martin J. Malone, in Sixty Cultures: A Guide to the HRAF Probability Files. 1977. Robert O. Lagacé, ed. New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, Inc.

Overview by

John Beierle

ADAT communities -- districts or territories -- category 634

ALAND -- ricebarns -- category 343

BANDORO -- lesser community officials below the village head -- category 624

BATITONG -- werewolves -- category 754

BOMBO -- the soul -- categories 774, 775

BUA' -- districts under Dutch administration -- category 634

BUGI' ritual -- a ritual or exorcism; a rite to protect the community from plagues, epidemics, etc. -- categories 789, 751, 796

DATU -- Buginese or Makassarese overlords -- category 648

DEATA -- gods, goddesses, ancestral spirits -- categories 776, 775

DESA -- a division of the KECAMATAN into villages or clusters of villages --category 634

KAMPUNG -- a division of a district into villages -- category 621

KAPA -- the penalty to be paid by the marriage partner when he/she dissolves the marriage bond -- categories 684, 586

KAUNAN -- slaves -- category 567

KECAMATAN -- an administrative unit or regency -- category 631

KOMBONGAN -- an animated public forum for voicing and resolving grievances --categories 571, 627

LEMBANG -- territorial units composed of villages -- category 634

MA'BUA -- see MARO

MA'NENE' -- ancestor rituals -- Category 769

MARAPUAN -- a cognatic descent group or ramage -- category 612

MARO -- "smoke rising" rituals associated with the house -- categories 796, 342

MEROK -- a feast given to raise one's prestige -- categories 574, 796, 527

MOMPELELEKA -- the headhunting feast -- category 727

MONTOGOE -- soothsayers -- category 791

PESUNG -- offerings -- category 782

RAPU -- a sub-ramage -- category 612

SANDO -- a medical practitioner with a reputation for healing -- category 756

SAROAN -- wards -- categories 621, 571

SIRI -- honor and shame -- category 577

TADEA -- a curse or accusation (with magical connotations) used against an enemy as an excuse for battle -- categories 721, 789

TADOELAKO -- war leader -- category 701

TAU-TAU -- the image or effigy of the deceased used at funerals - - categories 532, 764

TO MA'KAYO -- "death priest" (Sangalla) -- category 767

TO MA'DAMPI -- medicine man or woman -- category 756 (sometimes with 793)

TO MEBALUN -- undertakers or "death priests" -- category 767

TO MAKAKA -- nobles -- category 565

TO BIASA -- commoners -- category 565

TO MINAA -- ritual specialists or priests -- category 793

TO PARENGNGE -- district heads (under the Dutch); nobles -- categories 634, 565

TONGKONAN -- important house; members of a sub-ramage-- categories 592, 554, 612, 342

village chief -- category 622

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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