Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
6.01.0587.HMC
Place:
Yentchen, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Description:
Villagers of Yentchen, a small Iatmul village along the Middle Sepik River, don their ceremonial garments to present a sing sing for the tourists. Their costumes are compiled from various plants and many birds' feathers that are readily available in the surrounding tropical plants and trees. No one is supposed to recognize the dancers because they represent spirit figures who predict events for the people in the community. More than 725 species of birds inhabit Papua New Guinea. It is home to 38 species of birds of paradise that live no place else plus another 5 that are found also in parts of Australia and the Moluccas. Their haus tambaran (spirit house, also called a men's house) is behind the dancers.
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