‘Mud Men’ of Papua New Guinea


For centuries, the Asaro ‘Mud Men’ of Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea, have adorned themselves with mud, clay masks and bamboo finger extensions to look like evil spirits.




While the masks have different origin stories, it is believed that in the 1800s, tribesmen would raid other villages – for their women or pigs – while intimidating their enemies with large masks and bamboo spears.

Some say the masks stem from the villagers’ desire to intimidate enemies with their macabre appearances in the late 1800s. 

The masks have evolved over the years and are now become thick, heavy headdresses that can be worn for only a few minutes as part of brief cultural performances.

Members of the clan can still be found in Waghi Valley, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, a country made up of more than 2,000 indigenous clans. 

Led by a Melpa clan member from the Waghi Valley, a photographer visited the Mud Men in a rain-forest village in Pogla, about 31miles from Mt Hagen, earlier this year.

Naked apart from a leafed thong covering their genitals each warrior was covered in thick grey clay, a heavy, almost demonic, clay mask on their head.



Asaro (Παπούα Νέα Γουινέα) 


Η φυλή Asaro, (αρχικά Asaro Mudmen που σημαίνει άνθρωποι του ποταμού Asaro καλυμμένοι με λάσπη), είναι μια μυστηριώδης και αινιγματική φυλή ιδιαίτερα γνωστή για το γεγονός πως τα μέλη της καλύπτουν το σώμα τους με λευκό πηλό και τα πρόσωπά τους με ειδικές πήλινες μάσκες.

Οι μάσκες αυτές αντιπροσωπεύουν την πίστη των Παπούα στα πνεύματα. Μακριά ή κοντά αφτιά, χαυλιόδοντες, κέρατα και στόματα δημιουργούνται στις μάσκες σε αντίθεση με αυτά που έχουν κανονικά οι άνθρωποι.


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