Traditional Toraja Cloth

Posted on 05/12/2023

Toraja weaving


Woven cloth for the Toraja people is not just cloth. Toraja woven cloth has an implied meaning in each motif and pattern and its use cannot be done carelessly.


Toraja woven cloth is an important element in Toraja culture. This woven cloth is usually used in the Rambu Tuka (life ceremony) and Rambu Solo' (death ceremony) ceremonies. In the Aluk Todolo belief, if the Rapasan (nobility) dies, their body must be wrapped in woven cloth and a minimum of 24 buffalo must be slaughtered. This shows that woven cloth is considered a symbol of prosperity.


Toraja weaving craft is a skill that has been passed down from generation to generation. Toraja weaving craftsmen can be found in the Sa'dan area, North Toraja. This cloth is woven using a traditional loom made of wood and bamboo called unuran. Making this woven cloth takes quite a long time. Making one piece of cloth can take one week. Apart from being used for everyday use, Toraja woven cloth is also used in traditional ceremonies. Previously, this woven cloth was only used at traditional events and was worn by the nobility and the economically well-off. As time goes by, this woven cloth can now be used by all groups.


Toraja woven cloth is made from cotton or pineapple fibers that have been spun so that the cloth is rough and heavy. Pineapple fiber is currently rare so it is rarely used. Toraja woven cloth uses colors made from natural dyes sourced from plants in Toraja. The colors used are also chosen to last a long time. Usually the colors used tend to be dark, such as red, black, brown and dark blue.


In general, Toraja woven cloth is divided into two types, namely Paruki woven cloth and Sarita woven cloth. Paruki is a technique for weaving cloth in reverse. This woven cloth has a motif that can only be seen behind the cloth being woven. This weaving technique is quite complicated for the weavers. Paruki cloth was previously worn by people during traditional ceremonies. The Sarita cloth is a sacred cloth that is only worn by parengnge' (traditional leaders) and patungan bia' and tominaa (religious leaders). Sarita cloth is also worn as decoration at the Rambu Solo' ceremony if the deceased is from the noble class. This cloth is not only worn by humans but is also placed as decoration on the main object in ceremonies and placed on buffalo and pigs that will be slaughtered.



Paruki cloth generally only has one motif, namely Pa'sekong Kandaure. Pa'sekong Kandaure consists of two words, namely Sekong which means curve, circle, or winding, and Kandaure which is jewelry or accessories made from beads worn by Toraja women combined with traditional clothing when participating in traditional events. The meaning is that the children and grandchildren of the Torajan people will always live in happiness like light and beauty like Kandaure. This motif is a motif that symbolizes the greatness of Toraja women. If a woman dies in Toraja, her coffin will be covered with cloth with this motif.


Sarita cloth has various motifs. The motifs used on Sarita woven cloth depict the social values of Toraja society. These motives include:

1. Tau-tau motif

Tau means person, so literally, Tau-tau means person. This motif shows the social strata of the wearer. Cloth with this motif is divided into two, namely Tau-tau Lampa and Tau-tau Nangka.

2. Pa'tedong motif

This motif symbolizes the strength, prosperity and nobility of the Toraja people.

3. Pa'tangke Lumu' motif

This motif describes the ways of life of the Torajan people in fulfilling their daily needs, which they hope can be done in honest ways, like moss that can live on the surface of a stone.

4. Pa'bulu Londong motif

This motif symbolizes leadership that is wise and wise, trustworthy because it always says the right thing.

5. Pa'bare Allo motif

This motif is in the shape of a sun circle. This motif symbolizes Puang Matua (God Almighty) and depicts the sun shining brightly giving life to all creatures in the universe.


A glimpse of information about the beautiful and distinctive Toraja woven cloth. We hope that Toraja woven cloth will become a cultural heritage that will always be maintained so that it does not lose its meaning and identity. If Toraja woven cloth depicts the feminine side of Toraja, then what is suitable for depicting the masculine side is Toraja Coffee. Known for its earthy, nutty, spice and low acidity character, Toraja Coffee is widely known abroad. To taste quality Toraja Coffee, you can try coffee from the Sulotco plantation in the Rantekarua Mountains, Bolokan.

Fungsi dan Makna Simbolik Motif Kain Tenun Tradisional Toraja, Rince Tumba Marante, Abd. Aziz Ahmad, Hasnawati, 2018