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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Check Out A Village In Papua New Guinea Where Dead Relatives Are Smoked




From the cliffs of a village in Papua New Guinea's Morobe highlands, charred corpses leer at passers-by. Their flesh is stained red, and they seem to be imprisoned within cages of bamboo, as if to keep them from leaping down and devouring any explorer who strays too close.

But this macabre practise is not (only) a way to scare away strangers. For the Anga people in these remote parts of the country, it is the highest honour they can bestow on their dead. Dead men, women and children are effectively smoke cured, in much the same way as a kipper.






The soles of the feet, palms of the hands and tongue are sliced off and presented to the surviving spouse and then what's left of the body is smoke cured over a fire pit, before being coated in clay and ochre to deter scavengers. The cliffs of the Morobe highlands are littered with these corpses, some dating back 200 years of more. They are sometimes brought down for special events and celebrations, and returned soon after.





he soles of the feet, palms of the hands and tongue are sliced off and presented to the surviving spouse and then what's left of the body is smoke cured over a fire pit, before being coated in clay and ochre to deter scavengers. The cliffs of the Morobe highlands are littered with these corpses, some dating back 200 years of more. They are sometimes brought down for special events and celebrations, and returned soon after. These watchers are believed to be the guardians of the village. The most-respected warriors are placed on special lookout points on the cliffs, watching out for invaders.
The practise is frowned upon by the Catholic church and has been banned since 1975, when PNG gained its independence.





But in remote parts, where even today few missionaries dare to tread, a few tribes still prefer to mummify their dead - perhaps to keep the priests away. 
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