Maintaining the Spirit World
When someone dies, the survivors must learn how to care for the corpse. They must also organize large funerals and construct grave monuments. On Sumba, the monuments are huge stone tombs; in Tana Toraja -- the mountainous interior of Sulawesi -- compartments are chiseled out of steep stone cliffs. In both places, the spirits of the dead are real and demand gifts of clothing, jewelry, food, and drink. The objects on display are just some of the many things required to equip the spirits of the dead on their journey to the spirit world. Only when the dead pass from being remembered as individuals to anonymous ancestors do their needs diminish.