The most self-confident and best-known minority group in Sulawesi are the Toraja – an ostensibly Christian society who retain many animist beliefs and practices. Settlements scattered around their traditional territory in the hills of the southern interior – known as Tana Toraja – feature strikingly decorated rice barns and boat-shaped ancestral houses with upcurved roofs and richly painted gables. The Toraja are equally famous for their extravagant funerals, in which dozens of pigs and water buffalo are ritually slaughtered. Afterwards, the embalmed bodies of the deceased are placed in cavities hewn from limestone cliffs, where they remain on display for many years – among Southeast Asia’s most other-worldly spectacles.

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