General: South Sulawesi Toraja funeral shrouds or Seko Mandi are easily distinguished by their characteristic densely packed elaborate repeated geometry of interlocking key, hook and lozenge motifs. This pattern, called sekong, is generally considered to be anthropomorphic in form, representing a group of ancestor figures that will either accompany the dead as they journey to the afterlife or be there to receive the dead on their arrival. Woven with coarse hand spun cotton they tend to be of large size with dominant red (morinda) grounds with their geometric elements picked out in blue, white or black. They are dramatic cloths of strong contrast and most commonly comprise two panels sewn together centrally along the longitudinal warp axis to create a mirror image effect. Their principal use is as funeral shrouds, to wrap the deceased or to cover the coffin, but today they also have other economic and ritual uses, for example as part of the bride price, hangings demarking an area for the performance of sacred rites etc.
Specific: A very vibrant and impressive example of a Toraja Seko Mandi or funeral shroud, in blood red, black and ecru, with an intricate and detailed Sekong type motif. In this example, interlocking patterns called lelesepun, representing stylised human figures, symbolise the host of ancestors which the deceased will join when they enter the afterlife.