Harold and Mary Cohen : The Papua New Guinea Slide Collection
Object ID:
Papua New Guinea
In this unidentified Highlands group, men and women dance together and paint their faces and bodies similarly. Each dancer modifies the face and body paint, but all men wear matching tapa cloth aprons made from hammered tree bark which is then dyed. The women wear short skirts made from sedge, river grasses, or stripped leaves of pandanus or other palm leaves and stabilized with waist bands made of twisted plant fibers that are dyed and twisted into patterns. Some anthropologists conjecture that red paint frequently signifies fertility in women and good health in men and that the black paint may represent solidarity of the tribe and their aggressiveness towards outsiders. Like the Huli men of the Southern Highlands, this tribe wears the wigs of human hair and adds decorations of cuscus marsupial skin hanging from the wig and topped with feathers of the various birds of paradise. One man wears the entire body and false wings of the iridescent blue Superb bird of paradise. The women wear either hair wigs or cuscus marsupial skins. They play their kundu hour—glass—shaped wooden drums as they dance and sing.
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