Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
Papua New Guinea
Women of the Simbu Province (officially named Chimbu) live in the central highlands cordillera of Papua New Guinea on the border. It shares geographic and political boundaries with five provinces: Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Southern Highlands, Gulf on the south and Madang on the north. It is a province with limited natural resources and very rugged mountainous terrain. Women and men decorate their faces and bodies for specific cultural ceremonies. Usually, the men are more decorated than the women. However, they all paint their faces in the same manner with the bottom half of their faces painted with black charcoal and a white line drawn across their cheeks and nose. Their entire bodies are made shiny with either pig's grease or tree oil. Their skirts are made of strips of river grasses which are also used to make their waistbands. Some women dye the bottoms of their skirts. The men wear headbands, variously decorated with snakeskin or cuscus marsupial fur. These support their tall headdresses of colorful feathers from numerous plant leaves and over 725 species of birds. Orange leaves of the bower birds and parrots are plentiful in this photo, along with the leaves of various palm trees and plants. The kundu hour—glass—shape hollow log drums are highly individualized in their decorations by these villagers.
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