Sa'dan Toraja people
Ritual object and neck ornament
early 20th century
diameter 122.0 (h) x 37.0 (w) cm
Acquired through gift and purchase from the Collection of Robert J Holmgren and Anita E Spertus, New York 2000
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Kandauré are displayed on long poles and worn by the relatives of the deceased during the funerary ceremonies of the Toraja peoples of Sulawesi. As attire, the ornament hangs down the wearer’s back with the beaded fringe knotted across the breast. When on display, kandauré resemble fringed parasols, with the small human motifs in tablet weaving at the neck standing upright.
Beads are highly valued by the Toraja and kandauré are treasured heirloom objects handed down within families. Thought to provide a link between the spirit and human worlds, beads are often worn by village priests and shamans throughout central Sulawesi. The design of interlocking spiral motifs and lozenges, prominent in Toraja art and a feature of the kandauré, symbolise nobility, abundance and war.