Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
6.01.0583.HMC
Place:
Yentchen, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Description:
Yentchen village along the Sepik River has a large haus tambaran. The side view of the spirit house sits with people's houses in background among palm trees.

As is typical of some 25 Iatmul villages along the Middle Sepik River, Yentchen has a large Haus Tambaran (spirit house) where men congregate on the first floor and boys live on the second story during their preparation for initiation into manhood. Formation of spirit houses is traditional but the wood or bamboo construction and decoration of outer coverings can vary. Roofs are triangulated with a finial decoration at both the front and back end of the building. On this one, the finial is topped with a bird in flight on top of a tall phallus. Surrounding the bare performing grounds, stilt houses sit against the tropical forests.
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