# 14804

Photographer unknown.

Photographs of Marind-Anim people, southern Dutch New Guinea, circa 1935

$165.00 AUD

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Group of 6 (of 12) silver gelatin photographs, each 97 x 69 mm, accompanied by their original envelope printed in Japanese Ran-ryō niuginia Shima shokujinshu no fūzoku [=Customs of a Species of Cannibals from Dutch New-Guinea]; the photographs and envelope are in very good condition.

The Marind-Anim inhabit the southeastern region of what was formerly Dutch New Guinea, now known as West Papua. These photographs, made for commercial sale in Japan during the 1930s, show various aspects of the vanishing traditional customs of the Marind-Anim. The Marind-Anim practiced totemic ancestor worship, ritualised homosexuality and cannibalism – they were notoriously feared headhunters. The subjects of the photographs include a group of men dressed for ceremony holding drums and a magnificent carved fish totem; another group posing with human skulls and a skull rack; three men posing with their bows and arrows (the Marind-Anim were renowned for their archery skill); two men wielding stone-headed clubs posed in staged combat; and two other groups posing in ceremonial decoration with their spears and drums.