The social life of the Toraja people who occupy the northern highlands of south Sulawesi revolves around the ancestral house. These dwellings, known as tongkonan,are not only a place for dwelling but also a microcosm of the universe. Tongkonans are erected on piles and are fitted with impressive curved roofs that evoke the image of buffalo horns. The walls are also decorated with a profusion of spiral and buffalo motifs as can be seen from this wall panel. The S-shaped hook is a common motif in Indonesian tribal culture, harking back to the ancient Dongson era.