Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crocadile Winces --- Day 257

Walk: Legion Art History Lecture (Everyday Objects of New Guinea People), Corte Madera Center,
Fillmore Street
Distance: 2 Miles

I find New Guinea carving to be graceful, intricate, sensual.  Witness this Spirit Figure:



Although the skin carving seems quite horrific:





Sepik Scarification

The tribes living along the Sepik river in Papua New Guinea have used the tradition of scarification to mature their boys into men for decades. The ceremony requires the youth to be cut along his back, chest and buttocks in elaborate patterns, to mimic the coarse skin of a crocodile. It is thought that this reptilian divinity consumes his youth during the bloody process, leaving behind a man in his place.
Before he can be treated as a man, though, the boy is subjected to humiliation in a ritual that can take weeks. In fact, the boys are referred to as women and regarded that way in order to psychologically toughen them. The scarification, parallel to the taunts, strengthens them physically because it requires a vast amount of discipline to go through the ritual, withstanding hundreds of cuts. The raw wounds are cleaned after the scarification is complete, but the pain endured continues for days as their bodies heal.


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