Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
6.01.0565.HMC
Title:
Mask Dancers at the Haus Tambaran
Place:
Yentchen, Middle Sepik, Papua New Guinea
Description:
Two mask dancers in full costume with elaborate feather headdresses stand with six women dancers, three on each side. Spirit House in the background behind them with circular window.

The haus tambaran (spirit house) of Yentchen, with its large open window, is the backdrop for singing women and dancing men. Women wear grass skirts and dab white clay on their faces. No one is supposed to recognize the men. They perform completely covered by masks on the faces, skirts of river grasses, many easily available plants from the surrounding area, and tall cascades of white feathers from plentiful birds in the forests and swamps along the Middle Sepik River, in Eastern Papua New Guinea, such as, ibises, spoonbills, pelicans, egrets, goshawks, kites, buzzards, eagles, pigeons, and cockatoos. Yentchen is one of the 25 small Iatmul fishing and horticultural villages of the Middle Sepik River of Eastern Papua New Guinea.
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