papua new guinea’s rugged mountain terrain and island remoteness have created a protective cultural buffer against the outside world. here, more than 800 languages continue to be spoken. and in the highlands, clans gather for sing sings, where the men strut and show off through flamboyant dance and dress.
in papua new guinea, “men are the objects of beauty,” says anthropologist nancy sullivan. “to be masculine is to be well made up.” the men take their cue from nature, specifically the birds of paradise who perform in an incredible display of feathers and colours and dances. like the birds, a man’s attire is not just a way of courting women, but also a way of intimidating enemies.
photos (click pic) by jodi cobb, richard schoettger, daniel nadler, chris mclennan and chris rainier. it’s worth comparing them with those of the omo valley tribes, brazillian tribes, and the woodabe tribe of west africa, which also dress and dance in a similar ritual. (more photos of papua new guinea)