National Geographic : 1972 Jun
until the burial. No one could tell us when this would take place-it might be months, even years, later. We had other commitments, so we left Tana Toradja at this point. But we carried with us a vivid memory of the kind of grave in which Sa'pang would finally rest. At a place called Londa, five miles from Rante pao, we had moved from under a warm sunny sky into the shadow of a vertical limestone cliff. Suddenly we found ourselves alone in a chilling confrontation with Toradja death. We might have been on a stage setting for some macabre Gothic play. More than a dozen human effigies, carved from hardwood, gazed fixedly at us from along wooden balcony half way up a cliff. Some sat, while others stood; all were fully garbed. Like a supremely re mote and implacable jury, they seemed to be weighing the meaning of life and of every thing beyond. As if painted with an impressionist's brush, guesthouses shimmer in a sunlit shower.