Pacific Games 2015 Sport

The Huli Wigmen | Southern Highlands, PNG


Province:  Southern Highlands, Papua New Guuinea

Town:    Mendi

Area:  15, 089 km

Language: 4 languages

Population :  515, 511 inhabitants (2011 census)

The Southern Highlands are the home of the renowned Huli Wigmen. Special magic and a restricted diet help build the body into a man that make their hair grow strong and fast. Under the guidance of the cult expert, the boy’s hair is picked out and periodically splashed with ritual water until it is long enough to be shaped by a circular band of bamboo into what looks like a mushroom of hair.

Eventually this hair is replaced by an oblong one creating an effect something like a toreador’s hat. Throughout this period the boy sleeps on a headrest that prevents his hair from being squashed. After roughly 18 months the entire coif is clipped off close to the scalp and reformed to create the basis of the renowned Huli ceremonial wig. Iridescent blue superb bird of paradise breastplates and parrot feathers are then added and in some locations the wig is also encased in red ochre. 


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