Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
6.01.0247.HMC
Place:
Papua New Guinea
Description:
Performers in this Highlands group wear the same colors but are variously costumed. The center person is probably a "big man" in his village. He achieves that position by investing in feasts, bride—prices, and other exchange needs of their partners and followers. To do this, men need many wives to help raise food and pigs to then give away.

The big man's many—layered headdress is larger, taller and more flamboyant. His cone—shaped cap is made of coir, a stiff coarse fiber from the outer husk of coconut, twisted fibers that are braided or cane that is triangulated to hold up feathers and leaves. His cap is surrounded with white chicken feathers. A layer of orange parrot or bower bird feathers follows with a few white feathers of one of plentiful varieties of white—winged birds. These are stuck into a mesh.

Other dancers in his group wear short tan skirts of hammered bark, orange arm bands and leg bands and a few leaves on their backs. One man practically covers his head, arms and upper body with grasses.
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