TORAJA, ZOOMORPHIC SARCOPHAGUS (ERONG) CELEBES
Late 19th/Early 20th c.; Carved wood, bone, horn, nails; 37" x 93"; Provenance: Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago, Illinois; Allan Stone Collection, New York (acquired from the above in October 1999)
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
The Toraja bury their dead according to status within the community. Boat shaped coffins are reserved for the elite while the middle rank and lower rank have buffalo and pig shaped sarcaophagi respectively. Depending on the status of the deceased the funerals require extensive planning and, in some cases, days to complete. Funerals serve as arenas for exchange and are also occasions for the confirmation in death of the rank and role of the deceased and his or her close kinsmen.
Feldman, Jerome. The Eloquent Dead: Ancestral Sculpture of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Los Angeles Museum of Cultural History, 1985, p. 129