Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
Mary D, Cohen & Widow
Palambei (art village), Middle Sepik, Papua New Guinea
Mary Cohen with a village widow who wears a necklace made from cut shells and a grass skirt stand under a thatched roof within an open structure.

Mary Cohen meets with a Palambei villager in the mourners' hut on the Middle Sepik River region of Eastern Papua New Guinea. She wears the traditional white clay of Middle Sepik River mourmers and has added a design on her forehead and breasts. The first time she wore her coir bridal cap was to enter her husband's house. At special ceremonies, it is also worn by men impersonating female ancestors. A long necklace of cowrie shells, such as those, decorating her bridal cap, hangs from her neck along with a large shell ring, symbol of bridal wealth.
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