The Huli are a tribe in central Papua New Guinea (PNG). They are famous for the elaborate wigs that they make. The wigs are actually grown by the men, see below.
Young Girl Initiation Ceremony
When a young girl is initiated into womanhood, the women perform a dance. This dance is not accompanied by any music, drums, singing, etc.
The ceremonial dance of male wigmen is accompanied by pipes and drums.
The Huli wigs are actually grown. Wig making is an art that seems to slowly disappear. The growing of wigs is done in a bachelor village. There is usually one older man who knows how to treat the growing wig. Growing a wig takes about 1 - 1½ years. During that time the man has to be careful not to disturb the growing wig, he has to sleep on a neck rest, without the hair touching the bed. Every day, the hair in the wig has to be treated so it is tightly intertwined to make a tight wig. After the wig is grown enough, it is cut off. It is then shaped into the final shape and decorated with feathers of birds-of-paradise and other ornaments. It takes another several months to finish a traditional wig. Ceremonial wigs are made from two traditional wigs that are then woven together and decorated. This again takes about ½ year, so the total time to make a ceremonial wig is 3-4 years.
Fortune Teller and Skull Cave
I visited a fortune teller in the Huli village. The fortune teller had a shrine with the skull of his ancestors six generations back. He was the 8th generation (the skull of the first one apparently was lost). The skulls are painted in yellow and red colors. He pulled one of the skull out of the shrine for the fortune telling ceremony. Of course, the fortune that he told me was all good, I would have a good and safe journey.
The skull cave contains the of the skulls of three of the four founders of the village.
One evening we had a mumu feast. They dig a hole in the ground, line it with banana leaves and then put hot stones, heated up in a wood fire, in the pit. The pit is then filled with vegetables, chickens, mixed with layers of hot stones. Then water is poured over the whole assembly to create steam. The whole pit is then covered with banana leaves and dirt to keep the steam in the pit. After a couple of hours the whole pit is excavated and the food is served. It was an interesting experience.
Huli Wigman putting on painting for dance. (933k) Huli Wigman putting on traditional costumes for dance. (1452k) Huli Wigmen dancers. (1432k) Huli Wigmen dancers. (1.5M) Huli Wigmen dancers. (1363k) Huli Wigmen in traditional costumes with ceremonial wig (left) and regular wig (right). (1299k) Even the young ones participate in the dance. (1291k) Elaborately decorated traditional wig with lots of bird-of-paradise feathers. (1036k) Elaborately decorated ceremonial wig with lots of bird-of-paradise feathers. (912k) Elaborately decorated traditional wig with lots of bird-of-paradise feathers. (836k) Close-up of painted face of Huli Wigman. (944k) Ceremonial drum used in the dance. (1133k) The back of the ceremonial costume is decorated with a hornbill beak and hog tusks. (1189k) Huli Wigmen Dance movie. (101.3M) Huli Wigmen Dance movie. (57M)
Wig Making at the Bachelor's Village
Huli Wigmen in the bachelor's village. Some of them are growing the traditional wigs, others have finished wigs. (1442k) Huli Wigmen in the bachelor's village. You can see the decoration in the back with hornbill beaks and hog tusks. (1219k) Huli Wigman with ceremonial wig. (1223k) Huli Wigman with growing wig. (861k) Huli Wigman with traditional wig. (822k) Huli Wigman with growing wig. (994k) Huli Wigman with ceremonial wig. (912k) Huli Wigman with ceremonial wig. (852k) Master wigmaker. He grooms the growing wigs and teaches others how to groom wigs. (1088k) Grooming growing wigs. (1395k)
Fortune Teller. (1199k) The fortune teller has skulls from eight generations of his ancestors. (1175k) Various bones in the fortune tellers shrine. (902k) The fortune teller uses one of the skulls for the fortune telling ceremony. (1143k) Fortune telling. Of course he predicted that I would have a good journey. (944k) Painted skull of one of his ancestors. (758k) Replacing the skull that he used for the fortune telling. (1070k) Skull cave with three of the four men that lived in the skull cave. (1168k)
Preparing the ingredients for the mumu. (1299k) Preparing a chicken for the mumu. (968k) Preparing the ingredients for the mumu. (1167k) Ingredients for the mumu. (1193k) Lighting a cigarette from the fire. (1000k) Fire to heat the stones. (929k) Picking hot stones from the fire with sticks. (1113k) Picking hot stones from the fire with sticks. (833k) Placing hot stones in the mumu pit on top of the banana leaves. (1061k) Another layer of banana leaves over the hot stones. (1074k) Filling the mumu pit. (1072k) Filling the mumu pit. (850k) Filling the mumu pit. (1109k) Filling the mumu pit. (1208k) Filling the mumu pit. (1205k) Filling the mumu pit. (904k) Filling the mumu pit. (1154k) Pouring water in the pit to create steam. (1018k) Covering the steaming mumu pit. (1052k) Covering the steaming mumu pit. (1163k) Opening the mumu pit. (975k) Opening the mumu pit. (892k)