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Tiki Central Forums » » Beyond Tiki » » Photos of Peoples in Melanesia
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Photos of Peoples in Melanesia
I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2005-05-20 08:32 am   Permalink

Child in full Tambuan costume

Sikari Gramban (Iatmul tribe), Angriman Village, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

"The mask the little boy is wearing is made out of wood, tusks, shells, feathers, natural pigments."

"From Angrimun village, Wariawi subgroup: Iatmul tribe, Mwai masks, for the initiation of boys, are attached to conical shaped woven basketrybody shrouds called Tumbuans (which in turn represents a spirit from the era of the creation). When a man dons this headdress, he is magically transformed into a mythological being called a Tumbuan. Tumbuans emerge from the men's spirit house (Haus Tambaran) just prior to major ceremonies. Typically they carry a blunt spear and a stone axe. Their superficial work is to drive away women, children and uninitiated men from the ceremonial area. There real objective however is to drive away bad magic and Maselei (demons or monsters) from the area so there is no interference with the ceremony that is about to begin. Once the Tumbuan headdress is put on and the man magically transformed, it requires magic, usually carried out inside the Haus Tambaran to convert the Tumbuan back to the original man. The mask is made primarily from wood with an overlay of a mixture of clay, quicklime and a wood oil called Gwart, embedded in this are Cowrie & Nasa shells. The bird on the end of the elongated nose is a Brahimney kite which is the prime totem of the largest Iatmul clan (Gaui). Other masks with cut-out eyes and open mouths were worn by elders during initiation ceremonies. Any mask used in such ceremonies was closely associated with the supernatural because initiation involved, amongst other things, communion with the clan spirits."

[ This Message was edited by: I dream of tiki on 2005-05-21 13:29 ]


 
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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2005-05-21 1:27 pm   Permalink

Lets go back to the Trobriands
First three photos taken at in inland village.



Dominique says this about this particular visit: "They had been given fake flower necklaces by New Zealanders that had stopped by on a sailboat a couple of weeks back. They were so happy to wear them and they posed for us as well. We always bring goods for the chief to distribute as they have so little in the form of necessities. Tools, school supplies, medecine, toys and such are so welcomed."


"There was an Australian couple that lived in Port Moresby travelling in the island at same time as us. They had a little girl with blond hair that fascinated all the locals. Since they rarely see caucasian children if ever, they followed her around all over like she was a goddess. They were mesmerized.


 
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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2005-05-21 1:31 pm   Permalink

I almost forgot to mension. I had asked Dominique what are the marks that we are seeing on the Trobriand villagers.

CORRECTION: I had thought the inhabitants were using rice to be temporarily "glued" to their body, but itis actually the sepals and/or petals from flowers. According to Dominique, "in Bali they use rice and it is for sacred purposes; In the Trobriands, I think it is for looks and beauty."

There you go. The story is straight.

[ This Message was edited by: I dream of tiki on 2005-05-22 10:08 ]


 
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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2005-05-25 07:43 am   Permalink

"These paintings grace the walls of the Port Moresby airport. They are very large and quite impressive. All are warriors in warrior or dance garb. I {Dominique] only have pictures of a few."




"The yellow face is one of my favorites and is a Huli warrior from the highlands of Papua New guinea. The hulis are a very interesting tribe, not that the others are not!





"To many of us, it appears cruel to see birds captured & killed for their feathers. Indeed it can be distressing to see, but we must realize that this is part of the culture of the fierce and remote Hulis wigmen from the highlands of Papua New Guinea who will do anything to embellish their coiffure. The use of local bird feathers has been part of their culture for many centuries, before modern man intruded upon their world. The impact of today’s deforestation & construction is a much greater factor threatening the survival of rare species of birds found in Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands."

"The feathers of certain species, especially those of the birds of paradise, are already becoming harder to obtain as the birds retreat deeper and deeper into the forest away from human encroachment. Hulis revere the exotic birds that live in the Highlands, they admire their beauty, their elegant flight & their singing abilities and believe that sporting these feathers will impart some of these desirable qualities to the wearer."

"The people of the Tari highlands have always adorned their coiffure with a variety of local birds' feathers, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo crest feathers, Musschenbroek Lory tail feathers, and Superb Bird of Paradise breast feathers inserted in wigs made of a base of human hairs. These colorful ceremonial wigs are unique to the area and very expensive to buy for the tribes, going for hundreds of dollars each since they take close to 2 years to produce. As a result, each purchased wig will be carefully maintained and even passed on to the next generation by the owner."

"To the Huli and other tribes of the vicinity, the color of fertility is yellow as in the plant world that they live in close contact with, as a result it is easy to recognize a Huli man from the wig he wears and the yellow he paints his face with. Up to the year 1930, ritual human sacrifices took place and the blade used was carved from the stock of the Pandanus tree which fruit were yellow. The killing would insure abundant crops, successful hunts and health to the children. Body parts and skin from the victims were carried around in a bamboo container from village to village so all could profit from the good luck attached and then deposited near the mountain called Ambua, which means "yellow". To this day, these remote tribes dress carefully for the occasion, painting their face with traditional colors of which yellow is prevalent and doning imposing spectacular headgear fashioned out of actual human hair decorated with natural elements such as feathers, grass and flowers."

"The image of a Huliman, dressed with traditional headgear and war-paint, is one of the country's most famous. The Huli make wigs from human hair. As young men, they enter what is known as the Bachelor House, an enclave, off limits to women, where they grow their hair with "magic water" for about 18 months. The Huli boys must even sleep with their heads propped up so that the hair won't be crushed, a painful position that they eventually will get used to. The hair is then carefully cut, tightly packed and mounted into a wig which retains the shape into which it is molded with the addition of pig fat. Into the wig are inserted feathers, "everlasting flowers" and other paraphernalia; individuals compete with each other to make the most magnificent wig. Many initiates stay in the confines of the Bachelor House for years, as the more wigs they have (for formal and casual wear!), the more prestige is gained."

[ This Message was edited by: I dream of tiki on 2005-05-25 07:45 ]


 
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The Monitors
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 08, 2003
Posts: 254
From: The ILL streets of Santa Clarita, CA
Posted: 2005-05-25 08:31 am   Permalink

Wow...amazing post. Very entertaining and educational at the same time. Thank you for posting. I love the story of the little blonde girl and how she was followed around like a goddess.
_________________
The Monitors


 
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FreakBear
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 15, 2004
Posts: 361
From: Springfield, Ohio
Posted: 2005-05-28 10:16 pm   Permalink

Great post! I love imagery and stories of Melanesia especially New Guinea! Living, breathing TIKI as I see it!

 
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Peel
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 12
From: Atlanta
Posted: 2005-05-30 1:30 pm   Permalink

Very cool, I love to see different cultures, great photos!

 
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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2005-06-06 7:23 pm   Permalink

"On the left is a necklace made out of cowrie shells that came from Flores island, Indonesia."


"Below, this man wearing the traditional Luba Cowrie Necklace is the proud owner of a new house. The skulls of the animals sacrificed to the spirits upon completion are displayed on its porch."

"This rare traditional necklace was used during special ceremonies and celebrations
& worn by important Headmen from the Ngada tribes of Flores, Lesser Sumba Islands, Indonesia. It consists of a handwoven rattan neckband decorated with smaller cowries with larger old cowries surrounding it. The large egg cowries have great age and patina and were salvaged from an older piece as they are passed on when the weave deteriorates."

"Flores is one of the islands in the province of East Nusa Tenggara with many various ethnic groups each with a slightly different culture and different language. There are more Melanesian characteristics in the East and more Mongoloid-Malay characters in the West."

"The Ngada religion is a fusion of animism and Christianity. Their traditional homes are Ngadhu, a thatched cone shaped hut, and they represent the relationship with the people’s spiritual ancestors in their creation, construction and arrangements.

Megalithic tradition has steadily disappeared, is indeed extinct in most parts of the world. As it is admitted, the tradition contains values very basic to the social life of human beings such as basic values of friendship, collectiveness, and deep love to the parents or ancestor’s, homage to the great magic of nature. These basic values were expressed in many ways according to the environment, and in Flores, still exist.

Although the vast majority of Flores is Catholic, many people still follow those old ways, by living in traditional villages and placing food offerings on megalithic stones, to appease their ancestors.

In the mountains, around Bajawa the Ngada people continue to follow the laws laid down by their ancestors. The Ngadanese are divided into set clans that have head chiefs and elders who decide over matters such as landrights, funerals, marriages and other ceremonies.

In the Ngada district for example, an area that maintains its status as the spiritual heartland of Flores, indigenous animist religions flourish and the villages maintain fascinating houses, megalithic stones and interesting totemic structures. In the centre of most of them stand several ceremonial edifices which represent the ancestral protection for the village. These include the Ngadhu , which resembles a man in a huge hula skirt, the thatched skirt sitting atop a crudely carved, phallic, forked tree trunk, which is imbued with the power of a male ancestor. The female part of the pairing, the Bhaga, is a symbol of the womb, a miniature house. The symbolic coupling is supplemented by a carved stake called a Peo, to which animals are tied before being sacrificed."





 
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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2005-06-09 12:57 am   Permalink

Kula

"Nearly a century ago, it was predicted that Kula, the exchange of shell valuables in the Massim region of Papua New Guinea, would disappear. Not only has this prophecy failed to come true, but today Kula is expanding beyond these island communities to the mainland and Australia.

The Trobriand Islanders, off the east coast of New Guinea, constitute the subjects of one of the earliest works of ethnography and economic anthropology authored by Bronislaw Malinowski, a major figure in the discipline (Malikowsi 1922). He identified several unique and fascinating economic institutions within Trobriand society but the "kula ring" has attracted the most attention. This system of exchange involves annual inter-island visits between trading partners who exchange highly valued shell ornaments and other gifts of exchange as the half moon necklace seen on our thread under "BEYOND TIKI: Photos of Peoples in Melanesia"

In his Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), Malinowski analyzed the kula ring, the exchange of shell valuables in a circle around the chain of Trobriand Islands. These ornament were traded from island to island in a counter-clockwise direction. A long time ago when the days were longer and the nights shorter lived a hero called Tava who at times took the form of a snake. Tava was known to pass between the villages that are identified as the active Kula Circle. When he was present in a village the people were said to have good fortune and prosper. His location was known only to one woman in each village and she would feed and tend to him. If he felt mistreated or betrayed at any time he would move on to the next island. On his departing the good fortune would also depart with him. He would nevertheless leave each village with a trade. This trade ranged from a surplus of pigs and yams in the Trobriands to the fine art of pottery found in the Amphletts, Other places became known for obsidian and Betel nut. It is believed that this myth could be one of the origins of the Kula Circle and the way it functions. Kula is a ritualized trading culture existing in eastern Papua New Guinea. It is essentially network of villages joined by a common trade route, known as the Kula Circle. By analogy Kula allows you to experience the magic and legends of Papua New Guinea. Kula was and still is a life sustaining cultural exchange. It is unfortunate that much of the time and energy that was used in the past to hold together the social foundation is now being clouded with the desire for money, a by-product of a tourism-based economy. With influences such as these and the advancement of technology, the intricate pattern in which traditional values are based is slowly eroding. In times gone by they were the foundations that enabled a healthy and peaceful survival. Kula - derived from bita kuli v. 1. to form in the likeness or image of; 2. to be formed as a likeness or image of.

Kula is the basis of mental and physical well-being. The Kula Circle has always been associated with making contact with far off neighbors. Traditionally two kinds of items were traded; arm bands carved from the toea shell know as Mwali and spondylus shell necklaces, Soulava. Each of these items were traded individually. Mwali and Soulava traveled in opposite directions around the Kula Circle (group of islands). Mwali passed anticlockwise in the ring and were given with the right hand, the Soulava passed clockwise and with the left hand, first between villages then from island to island."

""When attention is directed onto an object, it remains in the object. Throughout the mystery of Kula, trading the mwali and soulava became ‘living personalities’ with definite cultural identities."
- John Kasaipwalova

The Kula tradition is carried by word of mouth and is symbolized by the objects Soulava and Mwali, or bagi as they are known in different parts of Papua New Guinea. “It is a motion, an action of giving and taking between people - two people (partners) to begin with. This action results in the growth of participants”1. Kula is not just giving and receiving but an experience encountered by two personalities, be they individuals or entire communities. It is the simple human experience of growth and growing as an individual or a community engaged in giving and receiving.

Trade is only a subsidiary to the actual “game” of Kula. It gives men the ability to remain fit and healthy both mentally and physically. As many of the men would be gone from the village for long periods of time the women become reliant on firm village harmony. The Kula Circle was one way village people would resolve interbreeding within their community. Romances often occurred between women in villages that the men in Kula would visit. Kula allows communities to obtain Mwasila. Mwasila is the building or creation of a good feeling amongst people. To be happy, free, to have no worries. For the people of New Guinea & nearby islands, it is a cleansing: they clear their minds of all wrong doings and smooth the path between family and friends, thus rectifying any bad behaviour. The basic concept of Mwasila is creating a clear path between yourself and your environment, in being able to link with the environment you remove all other thoughts from your head that clutter clear and mindful thinking. This is a technique used by men on Kula. Today’s Kula begins in the garden. As it approaches time to make a journey for trade the gardens are harvested. Most Kula trade involves a surplus stock of vegetables; yams are a common item. The garden vegetables are used in feasts and are one of the ways the village being visited can show hospitality to their guests. This is the link that binds the villages and the Kula partners. On a second visit a Kitom, or new Mwali or Soulava, is given as a token of the new partnership.

Custom money is one of the distinctive possessions of Melanesia and is virtually unknown in Polynesia, where system of wealth distribution apparently made it needless.
Shell forms the basis of most Melanesian currencies. Cowrie shells, spondylus shells, pearlshells, calm shells and trochus shells account for most forms. Occasionally the whole shell, for example, cowrie shell, was used, but it was more usual to prepare and shape a shell in some way. Shaping was usually intended to prepare the shell for stringing on fiber, nevertheless, it was often made into an item of ornament for prestige instead, for example, an arm-ring, or an article of visual beauty.
Dogs' teeth and pigs' teeth often carried a currency value equivalent to shell.
In certain parts of Melanesia, striking and unusual forms of currency were developed. In the islands of the Central New Hebrides, boars' tusks were encouraged to grow into fully-developed rings. In doing so, the unfortunate animal might be tethered and have its jaws bound in order to prevent it from sharpening its tusks as he normally would.
Even today, in remote island,s custom money is still used for important occasions, such as initiation rites and wedding ceremonies.

The Trobriands are part of the kula ring circle that exist in parts of Melanesia: There are many deep motivations and meanings that lie behind the pursuit of Kula. Focusing upon the visually stimulating carved and painted prow boards that decorate canoes used by the Kula voyagers, Campbell argues that these designs comprise layers of encoded meaning. The unique color associations and other formal elements ‘speak’ to Vakutans about key emotional issues within their everyday and spiritual lives. How is men’s participation in the Kula linked to their desire to achieve immortality? How do the messages conveyed by the canoe boards converge with those presented in Kula myths and rituals? In what ways do these systems of meaning reveal a male ideology that competes with the prevailing female ideology? Providing an alternative way of understanding the significance of Kula in the Trobriand Islands, The Art of Kula makes an influential new contribution to the ethnography of Papua New Guinea."


 
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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2005-11-09 11:46 am   Permalink

Happy to give this ol' post a bump. Was putzing around on the internet and found a photographers's site on his photos from his visit to New Guinea. This photographer, Christopher M, has amazing shots of the people. Just a breathtaking slice of life.

http://www.pbase.com/chris67/papua_new_guinea

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Jungle Trader
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 3729
From: Trader's Jungle Outpost, Turlock, Ca.
Posted: 2005-11-09 4:32 pm   Permalink

Thanks, nice shots.

 
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JohnnyP
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 23, 2005
Posts: 1689
From: Attica, MI
Posted: 2007-01-21 5:12 pm   Permalink

I was searching for something else and came across this post. Thank you IDOT for sharing these pictures and the link above. This was a very nice surprise as PNG art is my interest.

JP


 
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