Sunday, November 2, 2008

Singsing

Just on dark yesterday we heard a hell of a commotion outside the house. Looking out the window I saw a large group of people chanting with drums and following this figure down the road to the beach. I grabbed my camera and did another of my "mad dashes". I asked if I could take their photo and with much glee they arranged themselves around the masked man. They told me they were going to a singsing down the beach. I took a quick shot and then nothing ....my battery died. I was so annoyed. The group was calling out "Take more, take more..." and all I could do was mumble and stump on back up to the house.

The figure seems to be in the form of a dukduk but is not the real deal. Can you see what is sticking out the top of his mask?

This is what a dukduk looks like, courtesy of this site.

The Dukduk is a spirit, which assumes a visible and presumably tangible form, and makes its appearance at certain fixed times. Its arrival is invariably fixed for the day the new moon becomes visible. It is announced a month beforehand by the old men, and is always said to belong to one of them
It is a conical-shaped erection, about five feet high, made of very fine basket work,
and gummed all over to give a surface on which the diabolical countenance is depicted. No arms or hands are visible, and the dress extends down to the knees. The old men, doubtless, are in the secret, but by the alarmed look on the faces of the others it is easy to see that they imagine that there is nothing human about these alarming visitors
.

This information came from here where more fascinating details can be found.

19 comments:

Kelly said...

Is it a duster sticking out of the top? Would that make it a DustDust? Love this costume, Jules! Too bad about your camera! I would have loved to see more too! The original costume is really interesting, I am off to see the site you referenced now...

Squirrel said...

There is a Sing Sing across the river from me, but it's a place not an event. (ha)

I LOVE these costumes so much--I always wondered where they originated.

Clueless in boston said...

Interesting pictures. I guess I'll put on my list of things to always have are extra batteries.

JM said...

That's just fantastic! I've seen a lot of tradicional costumes, masks, etc. of PNG (I don't miss a BBC/NG/Discovery documentary), but never such a figure! Amazing!!! Now I'm going to see the site you mention! :-)

BTW, I was born on the 50s! lol!

ancient one said...

That was very interesting.. don't you hate when the batteries run out... I've even been known to leave the camera card behind still stuck in the printer...LOL

lv2scpbk said...

Love all the wonderful colors in your photos.

Pia said...

Hi Jules,

What has happened to the Rabaul Historical Society site? Can you help me find it please.

LOL Pia

alicesg said...

Very interesting and lovely costume. Nice information too. Have a nice weekend.

Jules said...

Hi All thanks for your comments

pia - not sure what happened to it but here 'tis
http://www.historical-rabaul.blogspot.com/

Abraham Lincoln said...

Amazing photographs.

lynn said...

Oh that's so annoying, I sympathise. These are great shots though. How wonderful that you can chase down the street for such unusual shots!

Anonymous said...

We were told as kids that the duk-duks came to punish evil-doers in the village and that they were members of the village community but no-one knew who they were - hence the fear. I remember how terrified people were of them! Thanks for the offer re the girls' visit this month - it would be nice to know they could call someone if they had a problem. Would you mind emailing me your number at roddeidre@gmail.com and I'll pass it on to them?

Hilda said...

Heeheehee! No wonder it's so colorful! :D

Sorry to hear about the battery. Happened to me during the bonfire celebration of our university's basketball championship. That was awful — not a single photo! Grrr…

Therese said...

Alarming? To watch the first picture I would not think so. What a space between the toes... lol

Marie said...

Wow, we learn so much on your blog, Jules. I think mentioning these people on your blog is a way to protect them. All cultures should be preserved.

dive said...

Hee hee, Jules!
I LOVE the feather duster! What a perfect finishing touch.
Folk round your way seem to have such a lot of fun.
What a wonderful post.

Rose said...

At least you got one picture! I would have liked to see more, but at least we got to see this one.

Willow said...

It looks like a duster to me!

Don't you just get irritated with yourself when your battery dies? I did it at my son's wedding!

Very interesting costume. On the 'other side' of Papua, people are terrified of spirits too.

ciwir said...

oh, that's good pictures...