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Societies and Academies

Nature volume 104, pages 386387 (11 December 1919) | Download Citation



LONDON. Royal Anthropological Institute, October 14.—Sir Everard im Thurn, president, in the chair.—Lieut. E. W. P. Chinnery: “Dengora baiari” is the ceremony of initiation of young men and women of the Binandere tribe, Memba River, British New Guinea. Pigs are killed, and each candidate stands on the pig contributed by his parents and receives a loin-cloth, gonga, various ornaments, and instruction in social conduct. Dramatic plays of a special instructional character, iaveto, are performed by the village people and visitors. Ancestral ghosts are said to reside during these ceremonies in the posts, gusi, of the men's house, oro, and in the jijima, properties of the iaveto. The gusi during such time are said to be kotembo-kotembo, but their connection with the dead ends with the completion of the ceremony. Some time afterwards the jijima are smeared with pig-grease, decorated with feathers, cast into the river, and implored in the names of deceased ancestors to change into crocodiles and devour the enemies of the tribe. After “dengora baiari” follows a period of seclusion in a house known as wawa; this condition, iawa da vitari, is removed after some months by a purification ceremony known as tuna. The candidates then bathe in the river and enter the normal life of the tribe.

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