Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
Papua New Guinea
These Highlanders are probably from the Mt. Hagen area. Their massive headdresses require a structure made from split cane or branches from trees so that they can support a series of different sections. The central man in this photo wears a layer of fur from the cuscus marsupial similar to an opossum. Above that is the first structure that is repeated layers of wings from the iridescent green scarab that are woven together with twine from a plant. The beetles carry a potent neurotoxic alkaloid that makes the skin and feathers of the Variable Pitohui bird. Along side the structure of orange feathers and strips of white cloth. Feathers and flowers rise up towards another massive conical structure that holds more flowers and feathers. The dancers' faces are decorated with large dabs of red paint. The neck and shoulders are covered with large cowrie shells that are used as a money exchange. Orange strips of dyed fabric criss—cross the chest. Women can be seen in the background. Their costumes are less ostentatious.
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