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Stilt houses are the most popular architectural style throughout Southeast Asia. Vegetation provides essential materials such as wooden poles, bamboo walls and thatch for roofs.

The styles of houses are varied among populations and regions. However, the roof, with its extended ridge line, often results in outward-sloping finials, or gable ends. Among the Minangkabau of Indonesia, the heights of these finials are often exaggerated and soar up like buffalo horns. Gables of the Toraja houses in Indonesia are often supported by large decorated poles.

Decorative finials in the form of crossed horns are also a commonly seen architectural feature across Southeast Asia. They can be found among many communities in Thailand and Cambodia, among the Malay in Singapore and Malaysia as well as the Yuan of Laos and the Batak of Indonesia. They symbolically protect the house and show the important role of the buffalo in Southeast Asia.

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