Porisitutu Ritual Cloth 10969
Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Cotton; ikat
19th/very early 20th Century
100 x 61in/254 x 155 cm 


Often displayed at funerals of great chiefs, the pattern on a Porisitutu is felt to represent a genealogical diagram. The fundamental element of this interlocking composition is a sekong, which represents an ancestor figure in a simple but powerful graphic of "arms and legs" extending from a diamond central body. This non-verbal geometric  motif is immediately understood within its cultural context to be symbolizing how the newly deceased is linking in to an infinite array of interlacing ancestors.