The Huli is the largest cultural group in the southern highlands and society is grounded in the landscape of the valleys of the Tamari River basin. Myths describe the creation of the landscape by ancestral spirits and rituals link daily life with that of the spiritual world. The 'màli' ritual used to be performed to honour the clan's evil spirits that have the power to kill enemies in battle. 'Màli' is also the Huli word for dance, describing the sideways jumping of men with drums.
'Màli' dancers today are still adorned in ceremonial dress that includes human hair wigs, layers of looped string aprons, woven armbands and a 'bàeahago' (man's dancing belt). The 'bàeahago' is decorated with a striking geometric zig-zag pattern known as 'gīlini gīli', which is made from plaited cane and 'yàgua' (black fern frond). 'Gīlini gīli' is also used around arrow-heads, axe-heads and killing-picks. It denotes the up and down movement of the 'màli' dance.
[Exhibition text for 'Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands', AGNSW, 2014]
mid 20th century
tree bark, twill weave pattern in split rattan and black fern frond
overall 87.0 cm length; 26.5 to 28.2 cm diameter; 12.2 to 13.3 cm width :
0 - Whole; 12.2 cm; width of woven belt at widest point
0 - Whole; 87 cm; length of bark (approx.)
0 - Whole; 13.3 cm; overall width of belt
0 - Whole; 26.5 cm; smallest diameter
0 - Whole; 28.2 cm; largest diameter
Gift of Stan Moriarty 1977
Not on display
© Huli people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics
Shown in 1 exhibition
Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 May 2014–10 Aug 2014