Asaro Mudmen, Papua New Guinea

Asaro Mudmen

Something tells me this guy doesn’t like me

I took this photograph at the 2001 Mt Hagen Highland Sing Sing in Papua New Guinea. Legend has it that the Asaro Mudmen of the Eastern Highlands were defeated in a battle and driven off their land. The warriors regrouped and hid in a swamp. They planned a counter attack and waited till it was dark. Under the cover of darkness they surrounded their village which was captured and attacked. When they came charging out of the swamp their bodies were caked in mud and had a white ghostly appearance. The people of Papua New Guinea are terrified of spirits and ghosts; and at the sight of these ‘ghosts’ the opposing tribe fled in terror and the Mudmen were victorious. Ever since the Asaro Mudmen cover their bodies in mud, wear strange masks decorated with wild bore tusks, dogs teeth and human hair and do a slow haunting ceremonial dance.

I took this on Minolta X300 on slide film.



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