Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
Papua New Guinea
A child wearing westernized clothing carries a bilum bag, a traditional net bag made of knotted plant fibers for carrying many things, including vegetables, fruit, wood, household goods, babies and suckling pigs. Each man wears a harness—like structure for a tiered headpiece made of wood triangles that are covered with chicken feathers. The headpiece is a gerua wenena, a carved and painted board made of a light wood and worn like a headdress in ceremonial dancing at the culmination of a grand pig festival. Important men (referred to as "Bigmen") who have many pigs and several wives, wear these large, elaborate headpieces. Smaller gerua decorate children and are found over a wide area of the New Guinea Highlands. According to tradition, the Gerua is a powerful force that controls health, growth and well—being of pigs and children. The costumes in this dance group are simple skirt, ankle covers, and armbands made from dried river grasses. Each dancer carries a kundu, an hourglass shaped drum with end coverings made from lizard, snake or animal skin.
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