Photographer's Note

This was taken on a slight cloudy morning in Bolu livestock market about 2km out of Rantepao town in Tanah Toraja highland, south Sulawesi - an important open-air market for the local Torajas Christian minorty. I was fascinated by the amount of water buffaloes in varying sizes being sold here, full of noise but be prepared as the smell is unpleasant and lots of dung at this pretty huge market. A fantastic experience in this part of the world which gives you a better understanding of how highly-prized the buffaloes are to these people.

In the region known as 'Land of death rituals' - water buffaloes being the most important animal in Toraja culture, are mostly raised to be sacrificed during traditional funeral ceremonies which can last up to a week, as they are believed to help carry the dead to the afterlife world, meats are then distributed to family members, relatives and guests. The richer or more socially prestigious the family of the deceased is, the more and better buffaloes are required. The most sacred and expensive ones are of certain albino types or perfect longhorns - called 'tedong bonga' - which can be more expensive than cars! This interesting place is more than just a market - there are hundreds of people gathered, socializing, cheering, selling and buying during the big day. It is a very well-known social event and many people travel long distances to sell their animals, all of which adds to the colourful experience and plenty to make pictures..

Setting: 10 mm, 1/60 sec, F16, ISO Raw 200, 0840 hrs.


Additional pictures:
Workshop1: This perfect longhorns buffalo is the Mercedes of status here

Workshop2: Locals taking care of their water buffaloes

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Additional Photos by abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 8322 W: 150 N: 18695] (83503)
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