The Huli are a tribe in central Papua New Guinea (PNG). They are famous for the elaborate wigs that they make. The wigs are actually grown by the men, see below.

Young Girl Initiation Ceremony

When a young girl is initiated into womanhood, the women perform a dance. This dance is not accompanied by any music, drums, singing, etc.

Wigmen Dance

The ceremonial dance of male wigmen is accompanied by pipes and drums.

Wig making

The Huli wigs are actually grown. Wig making is an art that seems to slowly disappear. The growing of wigs is done in a bachelor village. There is usually one older man who knows how to treat the growing wig. Growing a wig takes about 1 - 1 ½ years. During that time the man has to be careful not to disturb the growing wig, he has to sleep on a neck rest, without the hair touching the bed. Every day, the hair in the wig has to be treated so it is tightly intertwined to make a tight wig. After the wig is grown enough, it is cut off. It is then shaped into the final shape and decorated with feathers of birds-of-paradise and other ornaments. It takes another several months to finish a traditional wig. Ceremonial wigs are made from two traditional wigs that are then woven together and decorated. This again takes about ½ year, so the total time to make a ceremonial wig is 3-4 years.

Fortune Teller and Skull Cave

I visited a fortune teller in the Huli village. The fortune teller had a shrine with the skull of his ancestors six generations back. He was the 8th generation (the skull of the first one apparently was lost). The skulls are painted in yellow and red colors. He pulled one of the skull out of the shrine for the fortune telling ceremony. Of course, the fortune that he told me was all good, I would have a good and safe journey.

The skull cave contains the of the skulls of three of the four founders of the village.

Mumu Feast

One evening we had a mumu feast. They dig a hole in the ground, line it with banana leaves and then put hot stones, heated up in a wood fire, in the pit. The pit is then filled with vegetables, chickens, mixed with layers of hot stones. Then water is poured over the whole assembly to create steam. The whole pit is then covered with banana leaves and dirt to keep the steam in the pit. After a couple of hours the whole pit is excavated and the food is served. It was an interesting experience.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Huli Young Girl Initiation Ceremony

Female Huli Dancer
Female Huli Dancer. (947k)
Female Huli Dancer
Female Huli Dancer. (726k)
Female Huli Dancer
Female Huli Dancer. (703k)
Female Huli Dancer
Female Huli Dancer. (1394k)

Huli Wigmen Dance

Huli Wigman Putting Painting
Huli Wigman putting on painting for dance. (884k)
Huli Wigman Putting Traditional
Huli Wigman putting on traditional costumes for dance. (1370k)
Huli Wigmen Dancers
Huli Wigmen dancers. (1345k)
Huli Wigmen Dancers
Huli Wigmen dancers. (1434k)
Huli Wigmen Dancers
Huli Wigmen dancers. (1286k)
Huli Wigmen Traditional Costumes
Huli Wigmen in traditional costumes with ceremonial wig (left) and regular wig (right). (1216k)
Even Young Ones Participate
Even the young ones participate in the dance. (1217k)
Elaborately Decorated Traditional Wig
Elaborately decorated traditional wig with lots of bird-of-paradise feathers. (968k)
Elaborately Decorated Ceremonial Wig
Elaborately decorated ceremonial wig with lots of bird-of-paradise feathers. (871k)
Elaborately Decorated Traditional Wig
Elaborately decorated traditional wig with lots of bird-of-paradise feathers. (810k)
Close-up Painted Face Huli
Close-up of painted face of Huli Wigman. (911k)
Ceremonial Drum Used Dance
Ceremonial drum used in the dance. (1065k)
Back Ceremonial Costume Decorated
The back of the ceremonial costume is decorated with a hornbill beak and hog tusks. (1105k)
Huli Wigmen Dance Movie
Huli Wigmen Dance movie. (101.3M)
Huli Wigmen Dance Movie
Huli Wigmen Dance movie. (57M)

Wig Making at the Bachelor's Village

Huli Wigmen Bachelor's Village
Huli Wigmen in the bachelor's village. Some of them are growing the traditional wigs, others have finished wigs. (1353k)
Huli Wigmen Bachelor's Village
Huli Wigmen in the bachelor's village. You can see the decoration in the back with hornbill beaks and hog tusks. (1143k)
Huli Wigman Ceremonial Wig
Huli Wigman with ceremonial wig. (1136k)
Huli Wigman Growing Wig
Huli Wigman with growing wig. (829k)
Huli Wigman Traditional Wig
Huli Wigman with traditional wig. (786k)
Huli Wigman Growing Wig
Huli Wigman with growing wig. (925k)
Huli Wigman Ceremonial Wig
Huli Wigman with ceremonial wig. (871k)
Huli Wigman Ceremonial Wig
Huli Wigman with ceremonial wig. (813k)
Master Wigmaker Grooms Growing
Master wigmaker. He grooms the growing wigs and teaches others how to groom wigs. (1025k)
Grooming Growing Wigs
Grooming growing wigs. (1305k)

Fortune Teller

Fortune Teller
Fortune Teller. (1132k)
Fortune Teller Skulls Eight
The fortune teller has skulls from eight generations of his ancestors. (1114k)
Various Bones Fortune Tellers
Various bones in the fortune tellers shrine. (861k)
Fortune Teller Uses Skulls
The fortune teller uses one of the skulls for the fortune telling ceremony. (1085k)
Fortune Telling Course Predicted
Fortune telling. Of course he predicted that I would have a good journey. (889k)
Painted Skull Ancestors
Painted skull of one of his ancestors. (727k)
Replacing Skull Used Fortune
Replacing the skull that he used for the fortune telling. (1009k)
Skull Cave Three Four
Skull cave with three of the four men that lived in the skull cave. (1123k)

Mumu Feast

Preparing Ingredients Mumu
Preparing the ingredients for the mumu. (1224k)
Preparing Chicken Mumu
Preparing a chicken for the mumu. (922k)
Preparing Ingredients Mumu
Preparing the ingredients for the mumu. (1094k)
Ingredients Mumu
Ingredients for the mumu. (1118k)
Lighting Cigarette Fire
Lighting a cigarette from the fire. (941k)
Fire Heat Stones
Fire to heat the stones. (892k)
Picking Hot Stones Fire
Picking hot stones from the fire with sticks. (1061k)
Picking Hot Stones Fire
Picking hot stones from the fire with sticks. (814k)
Placing Hot Stones Mumu
Placing hot stones in the mumu pit on top of the banana leaves. (1010k)
Layer Banana Leaves Over
Another layer of banana leaves over the hot stones. (1026k)
Filling Mumu Pit
Filling the mumu pit. (1015k)
Filling Mumu Pit
Filling the mumu pit. (805k)
Filling Mumu Pit
Filling the mumu pit. (1054k)
Filling Mumu Pit
Filling the mumu pit. (1143k)
Filling Mumu Pit
Filling the mumu pit. (1138k)
Filling Mumu Pit
Filling the mumu pit. (862k)
Filling Mumu Pit
Filling the mumu pit. (1096k)
Pouring Water Pit Create
Pouring water in the pit to create steam. (968k)
Covering Steaming Mumu Pit
Covering the steaming mumu pit. (1004k)
Covering Steaming Mumu Pit
Covering the steaming mumu pit. (1106k)
Opening Mumu Pit
Opening the mumu pit. (925k)
Opening Mumu Pit
Opening the mumu pit. (849k)

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Page last updated on Thu Oct 10 19:07:18 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)


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