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Title

Mánda hàre (bachelor cult initiate's wig)

mid 20th century
collected 1965


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

The 'hāroli' cult among the Huli of the southern highlands was an important but optional part of male initiation. When young men reached the age of 20 to 22 they could decide to join the celibate 'hāroli' cult for two to three years, to enable them to develop to physical maturity and prepare for marriage. Firm muscles, a full beard and healthy hair could be achieved through periods of seclusion in the bush, self-discipline, the study of mythology and lore, performing 'gāmu' (magic chants) and the keeping of the 'ìba gìya', a magically potent plant.

When 'hāroli' initiates finally appeared in public, they wore crescent-shaped wigs known as 'mánda', which were made from their own hair and coloured with 'hare' (red clay). The 'mánda hare' is typically decorated at the front with the crest of a Superb Bird of Paradise, and adorned with Raggiana Bird of Paradise plumes, parrot and other bird feathers.

[Exhibition text for 'Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands', AGNSW, 2014]


Details


Other Titles

Drummer's wig

Bachelor's wig


Cultural origin

Huli people


Dates

mid 20th century
collected 1965


Media category

Ceremonial object


Materials used

human hair, Superb Bird of Paradise breast shield (Lophorina superba), red ochre pigment, white glass beads, machine-made button, rattan, plant fibre string


Dimensions

20.5 x 46.0 x 23.0 cm


Credit

Purchased 1977


Location

Not on display


Accession number

244.1977



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 49. cat.no. H6

Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 97 (colour illus.), 161. cat.no. 41