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Tongkonan, traditional house of Toraja

Meaning of tongkonan name Tongkonan is a traditional Toraja house that functions as a meeting place for Toraja nobles to talk about adat. Tongkonan in Toraja comes from the word “tongkon” which means to sit. From this word there is the term ma’tongkonan or meeting place.

Tongkonan function A tongkonan is not an individual property but is owned for generations by a family. Tongkonan has a function:

  • As a center for family coaching and meetings,
  • Residence
  • Center for various traditional, social and cultural activities.
  • Unifying containers or ties to family clusters, all Toraja people have their family tongkonan houses.

Giving the name of a tongkonan is based on the position of the tongkonan, the name of the area where the tongkonan is located or the special meaning attached to the tongkonan.

3 types of tongkonan As Toraja people, we know there are 3 types of tongkonan, namely:

  1. Tongkonan Batu A’riri which functions as a supporting tongkonan. This Tongkonan regulates and plays a role in fostering family unity and fostering the Tongkonan heritage.
  2. Tongkonan Kaparengngesan, a common term for tongkonan Pekaindoran or tongkonan Pekaamberan, which is tongkonan which functions as a place to manage and regulate customary government based on the rules of tongkonan layuk.
  3. Tongkonan Layuk or tongkonan Pesio ’Aluk, is the first and foremost tongkonan. Tongkonan is what creates or compiles social, customary or religious rules.

These three levels of tongkonan have different functions as mentioned above, as well as differences in the ornaments used. Tulak somba (middle pole), kabongo’ (buffalo headdress) and katik (chicken headdress), all three are used in Tongkonan layuk. Tongkonan Kaparengngesan only uses kabongo’ and katik, while Tongkonan Batu A’riri actually doesn’t use the three ornaments.

The shape of the tongkonan house is like a sailboat. The oral tradition of the Toraja community believes that this form was motivated by the arrival of the first traditional ruler in Toraja who came along the Sa’dan river from the south by using a boat called lembang. This form inspired our ancestors so that in the front and back of the tongkonan house the shape towered up.

The construction of tongkonan always faces north which means the direction of the coming of the ancestors of the Toraja tribe from the north, namely Indo-China, about 2500 – 1500 BC.

Other traditions call, the north is a holy direction because it is a place to live Puang Matua, the Creator of the Universe. Therefore at the front of the tongkonan there is a meaningful window as the entrance and blessing of Puang Matua.

Every tongkonan house always has a number of weeds (barns) erected in front of it.

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