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The House, The Rice and The Buffalo: Cosmological Perceptions in the indigenous Architecture of Southeast Asia

Brian Auersbach


This short article reviews the comprehensive field of study about vernacular architecture in Southeast Asia and the meaning behind these buildings. Cosmological perceptions and animistic beliefs are widespread in Southeast Asia, especially among the numerous tribes in its maritime region of Austronesia. This paper focuses on the connection between indigenous architecture and the cosmological relevance for the inhabitants. Therefore, similar architectural features in Southeast Asia will be elaborated and associated with these consistent cosmological perceptions. Finally, the example of the Toraja people and their story of creation shall illustrate this complex topic.


Southeast Asia, animism, cosmology, beliefs, indigenous, architecture

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