Saturday, November 17, 2007

Baining Fire Dancers



East New Britain is famous for the spectacular Baining Fire Dancers. The men wear huge tapa cloth (paper bark) masks, which have large beak-like mouths and wide eyes, and they dance in and out of a huge fire of burning coals.

The ceremonies are always held at night to add to the atmosphere.

You can hire them for special occasions and the resort next door sometimes has them for the tourists on the tour ships that come through here.

These photos were taken by my friend Geoff – I was too busy running around negotiating with the manager on a price to buy a mask to add to my collection – it was very reasonable I might add.

30 comments:

Old Wom Tigley said...

Geoff did well Jules, I've never heard or seen these before, the masks are very strang with the beaks..

Have a great weekend Jules

ro_pumpkin said...

great . quite spectacular . made me think about the traditions for christmas here , also with fire , masks and dance . hard to see in the city unless is some show .

Jules said...

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Clueless in boston said...

Great photos! The costumes and masks are wonderful. Do they dance to drums and chant?

roentarre said...

Wow. Really interesting photographs. Almost surreal to see this type of dance!

Maria said...

I had a friend who had flamenco dancers at her funeral. She would have loved these dancer and I KNOW she would have wanted them to dance at her funeral too.

NorthBayPhoto said...

Great photo and post.

M.Benaut said...

Perhaps PNG is one of the diminishing number of places on the planet where indigenous culture is maintained better than elsewhere. I hope that's right, but this display is magnificent; the masks are spectacular. It's also great to have obtained one or two.

Hope the wogs are dispersing too !!! (The masks may have scared them away.)

dive said...

Stunning photos, Geoff!

And Jules; you really must post a photo of yourself in your mask.
Hope you're feeling better, by the way.

rich said...

Your friend has taken some absolutely magical shots, especially the first one in my opinion. Stunning.
Planet Earth Daily Photo
.

oldmanlincoln said...

Very nice photographs. I never heard of this dance before today. I also like the masks.

M.Benaut said...

Also popped over to Planet Earth ce soir. Rich has such an amazing blog.
I wondered (again), who that was, in the photo you submitted, jumping into Halong bay. I rather wish it had been moi !

Bon dimanche à vous tout à Rabaul.

Donna said...

Great photos...there's so much in this old world to see!...

Annie said...

Does the dance still have a spiritual meaning or is it just a tourist entertainment now?

Steve Buser said...

So, Jules, today we both publish fire dancers. Yours are fascinating. Love the fire shot.

--steve buser
New Orleans Daily Photo

imac said...

Hey what great stuff and the history too, fantastic.

Where are the swans going? see my blog to find out.

quintarantino said...

Very interesting post and quite lovely photos of odd masks. Liked it.

Me said...

Jules, those are some pics Geoff got for you. It must be quite a show to experience in person. Good for you, getting one of the masks for your collection. What fun!
Perusing your earlier posts, I can only think, WOW, that is some place you are in there.
Thanks,
Wayne

-K- said...

This is what makes the internet so interesting and valuable.

K M F said...

fantastic shot

Andrea said...

Great Pictures and a great Blog!
Really!
Bye

Marie said...

Oh la la Jules, you live in a fabulous country. I'd love to be there.

imac said...

Tis me once again lol

If you like anticipation then

pop over to see the buildup of the spectacular

david mcmahon said...

Great effort by you and Geoff. That first shot is brilliant.

Jules, I'm really worried about the latest reports of storm damage and flooding in PNG - please let me know that all is well......

Jules said...

Thanks All
cluelss - yes they do chant but it is strange, I've been to about 3 or 4 now and i really don't remember drums - probably because it is such a visual overload!!!

annie - mostly it is done on a commercial basis now

maria - these would be great at a funeral - i think I'll book them. I do think cremation might be involved though!!!

david - we are fine here. I've been sick and have gone from computer to bed and not sure where the problem is but will find out

Lavenderlady said...

I am truly envious of your getting to see the dancing....and your apprentice photographer did a great job!

lv2scpbk said...

Beautiful fire photo. Love reading about this.

dr. filomena said...

That first photo is magic... I loooooove fire ;-) and you captured it beautifully... thanks for these insights, Jules!

Neva said...

This is very good.

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