Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
6.01.0508.HMC
Title:
Haus Tambaran & Setting of Palm & Shade Trees
Place:
Lower Sepik (southern tributary), Kambaramba Village, Papua New Guinea
Description:
Spirit House set within a low grassy area surrounded by shade trees. Cloudy Sky above. House has reddish grass skirting around the bottom rim of the raised structure. A man stands off to the side on the right side of the house. Bird figure located at the top of the roof peak, two lookout windows in the front of the building.

A visitor walks towards housing behind the haus tambaran (spirit house) of the Kambaramba Village alongside the Lower Sepik River. A skirt of dried river grasses hides the ground level storage area where domestic animals are kept during dry season. Carvers often work underneath or nearby. Traditional symbols of a finial include a very tall penis topped by a carved wood bird whose wings are in flight. Birds symbolize survival and protection from enemies and famine. Thatch for the exterior walls comes from the trees nearby.
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