Every family group posseses a set of sacred cloths, which are used at ceremonies.
The Toraja people - 'men of the mountains' are just one of many hundreds of ethnic and cultural groups in Indonesia. They live in the mountainous region of south Sulawesi. In the 20th century most Toraja people became Christians, and some Muslims, but they preserved many former animistic customs and beliefs, known as aluk to dolo - 'the Law of the Ancestors'. The cosmology includes the four major spheres - North, South, East and West. The North is associated with deities, heaven and light, while the South with darkness and the world below. The East is associated with life, the well-being of humans and animals, with fertility and food; while the West with death and funerals. The Toraja people practice fascinating and elaborate ceremonies, of which the funeral rites seem to mesmerise the foreigners. Renowned for unique architecture and carvings, the Toraja also use a variety of textiles. As in the other regions of Indonesia, their textiles were influenced, and often obtained, via trade networks reaching to India, China and later to Europe. Interestingly, since the 1880s, some of the classical Toraja fabrics - saritas - were manufactured in Dutch factories.