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Portrait of a deceased couple. Sulawesi - Indonesia - Mid 20th century.

Lot reference 15308385

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Current bid $36
Next minimum bid $43
Location: Spain
Auction fee: 9% of the winning bid
Shipping to United States: $66.36

No bids placed.

$36 Bidder 2994
13-01-2018 14:41:45
$30 Bidder 3724
12-01-2018 17:36:27
$24 Bidder 2994
12-01-2018 17:36:26
$18 Bidder 3724
11-01-2018 23:48:38
$12 Bidder 4746
11-01-2018 23:48:38
$4 Bidder 4746
11-01-2018 22:14:18

Good condition

Tau tau figures.

Tau tau are a type of effigy made of wood or bamboo. They are particular to the Toraja ethnic group in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The word "tau" means "man", and "tau tau" means "men" or "statue".

Tau tau are believed to have originated in the 19th century. They were once produced only for the wealthy, to reflect the status and wealth of the deceased. The tau tau are representatives of the deceased, ever-guarding the tombs and ever-protecting the living.

In the early 1900s, with the arrival of the Dutch Christian missionaries in Toraja, the production of tau tau was somewhat dampened. At the 1985 synod of Toraja Church in Palopo people debated if Protestant Toraja could have tau tau at their funerals.

Torajans believe that the dead can take their possessions with them to the after life, the effigies are usually equipped with small possessions. In 1980s, the wooden effigies became a target for grave robbers looted and possessions kept with them and sold the figures to museums. Tau tau can now be found in Jakarta, Europe and America, and were once even on display at the Smithsonian Institution in 1991. In response to this plunder of the ancestors, the Torajans hid their tau tau in various undisclosed locations. They also installed metal fences surrounding their cave graves to protect the tau tau. It is somewhat ironic that the tau tau is meant to represent the deceased protecting the living, but they now have to be protected against the living.

Traditionally, the effigies were simply carved, only to show the gender of the deceased. However, they have become more and more elaborate, actually attempting to imitate the likeness of the deceased. Nowadays, tau tau have photographic likeness to the people they represent. They are carved with wrinkles.

The types of wood used for the effigies and what they are clothed in also reflect the status and wealth of the deceased. Tau tau of the wealthy would generally be made of wood from the jackfruit tree. They are usually permanent statues that can be found standing at the entrance of tombs, which are carved out of rock faces of Toraja. Their position, in reference to the other tau tau, in the rock face would indicate the status of the deceased. The cave builders usually require payment of several buffalos that only the sufficiently wealthy can afford.[1] The less wealthy elites generally have their tau tau made from bamboo, which will be undressed at the end of the funeral, leaving only the bamboo on the ritual field. There are regional variations in the types of tau tau used, also.

These pieces represents a humble couple. Large piece of painstakingly carved wood. Dressed in authentic cloth.
These pieces are very rare to get. Hence, the exclusive character.

Measures: 21cm and 24cm

These pieces will be sent perfectly packaged and highly protected by specialized agency.

Es Lotogris  pro

Feedback score: 96.4%
Reviews given: 31
Member since: October 23, 2016
  • Please note: some elements on this page have been translated automatically.
    kavel dd 22-06-2018 nog niet ontvangen
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    waterrat June 22, 2018

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    Heb m self maar gerestoreerd,kwam kapot aan
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    Jeroen12 May 19, 2018

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    Very nice item.! Fast and perfect shipping. A very good seller.! Compliments..!
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    AmorFati May 11, 2018

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    Very nice.Thank you!
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    ANARICO May 7, 2018

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    Very correct and nice seller. My compliments.!
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    AmorFati April 28, 2018

View all 31 reviews


The seller will ship the item(s) within 3 working days after receiving confirmation of payment.

Shipping costs are for mainland destinations only.
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Shipping costs

United States $66.36
Austria $28.96
Belgium $28.96
Canada $66.36
Denmark $28.96
France $28.96
Germany $28.96
Ireland $38.61
Italy $28.96
Luxembourg $28.96
Netherlands $28.96
Norway $38.61
Poland $28.96
Portugal $28.96
Spain $14.48
Sweden $38.61
Switzerland $28.96
United Kingdom $28.96
Rest of Europe $38.61
Anywhere else $66.36

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You can pick up this lot from the seller: Camas (Sevilla), Spain.

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