Tau tau are a type of effigy made of wood or bamboo. They are particular to the Toraja ethnic group in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The word “tau” means “man”, and “tau tau” means “men” or “statue”.
Tau tau are believed to have originated in the 19th century. They were once produced only for the wealthy, to reflect the status and wealth of the deceased. The tau tau are representatives of the deceased, ever-guarding the tombs and ever-protecting the living.