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Man’s Bark Belt Western Highlands Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. L-156
Size 28cm x 13cm
Man’s Bark Belt Western Highlands Papua New Guinea

This fine old ceremonial Bark Belt is from the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.  In several areas of Papua New Guinea men made and wore bark belts like this fine example. The bark would have been stripped off a large tree an while still supple they would have added incised the geometric designs and when drier they would highlight the carving by adding colour as this example. It would be worn around the waist and at the front a special netting that looks like a woven bilum bag draped over the pubic area as the belt was only around the waist. The back of the belt men would stick leaves in and hence the pidgin English word ” ass grass ”  which covered the mans ass.  When I first visited the Highlands of New Guinea in 1985 I saw quite a number older men wearing bark belts and ass grass.  I even had occasion to wear one to a ceremony but I wisely kept my underwear on underneath. This old Belt dating from the 1950’s

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