Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
Papua New Guinea
Highlanders prepare to perform with their variety of shaped and colorful back staff/dancing shields. Each is a bulky banner that is worn on the back of the dancer. These are more than ten feet tall. Each structure is supported by bamboo poles or wood boards. Hammered bark cloth, made into a paper—like textile) is painted or woven with symbolic designs of the tribe's ceremonial religious or cultural traditions. The bark cloth is then attached to the cumbersome structure. Each dancer must be assisted in its removal from his back.

The man facing his dancing shield wears a red cap with feathers jutting out from the cassowary flightless bird. A few strands of trade store beads crossing from shoulder to waist and at his waist band also of the beads. A few strips of dried palm leaves do not cover his splashes of red on his body, arms, and legs.
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