Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Mud Man Cometh!

The Rabaul Mask Festival is held annually in July. During the festival, people from different parts of PNG perform their dances and show off their spectacular costumes. This year I was in bed sick and missed it!!! I went to the resort next door last night as there was to be a Mud Dance (no guys – no women in T-shirts wrestling in a pit of mud). However the dance was cancelled which was a shame. The good thing was I was able to buy a mask which I have always wanted for my collection.

The story differs, but apparently.... after retreating from their victors after a clan fight, the Asaro men (from the Highlands of mainland PNG), hid in a muddy river bed. As they emerged from the river bed later they noticed the villagers went screaming and hiding into the forest. They then realized they were covered in a pale grey mud which had hardened, making them look like ghosts. So from then on they covered their bodies in mud and wore mud masks into battle. Now of course it is done for the tourists.

The masks are made from clay and weigh a staggering 7 kg – imagine dancing with that on your head!! They are very fragile and each has a different face and personality. The only problem now is – where the hell am I going to put it!!!

6 comments:

Mme Benaut said...

I had heard of these masks and now I can see what. Good for you for adding to your collection. Sorry to hear that you have been sick - hope you feel better soon.

Mme Benaut said...

Oops - should read "see one" - mind must have been wandering beyond the fingers ...

CaBaCuRl said...

Oh Jules, what an amazing object to be collecting! But, as you say, how on earth do you store them? How many do you have? Thanks for visiting my blog.

M.Benaut said...

Perhaps a glass cabinet complete with spooky, sinister lighting, for frightening visitors from down south.
Also, it's best not to wear a t-shirt in mud while wrestling. It only clogs up the washing machine filters.
However, baked beans are far more compatible with modern appliances.
I hope such suggestions may be of some assistance.

Jules said...

Ah M Benaut - you are a man of many talents - now mud wrestler can be added to your list of hobbies!!!!!

The glass cabinet sounds great but I may have to wait until I get back to more stable ground - a guria (earthquake) which we get quite frequently, could cause havoc to it!!!

Pedp said...

Beautiful photo. Grotesque and beautiful...

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