October 5, 2013
Among the thick jungles and high peaks of Papua New Guinea, live multiple ethnicities, speaking over 800 languages in the lands that inspired all the terrible sailors’ stories at the beginning of 20th Century: The head-hunters, warlike cannibal clans that keep colorful rituals and lifestyles attached to nature. In fact, one of the Rockefeller brothers was killed and eaten by this tribe – but a large collection of Melanesian art at the New York Metropolitan Museum stands as a testimony to the time he spent there – and where he met his untimely end.
We meet the inhabitants of the Highlands with their colorful body painting and participate in a ritual “sing-sing” of the Asaro people, where Mud Men try to keep out enemies with its terrifying aspect. Then, we will find the “enga mummies” of Kukukuku, bodies of warriors who have been preserved by smoking.
On the Sepik river, we finally find the exuberant nature of the region and the men who worship the crocodile, their flagship specie, from which they seek to possess their spirit through frenzied rites and painful scarification tattoos, which they do all over their bodies, in imitation of the great reptile’s skin.