An image of Mánda hàre (bachelor cult initiate's wig)

Unknown Artist

Mánda hàre (bachelor cult initiate's wig)

Other titles:
Drummer's wig, Bachelor's wig
Not on display
Further information

The 'hāroli' cult among the Huli of the southern highlands was an important but optional part of male initiation. When young men reached the age of 20 to 22 they could decide to join the celibate 'hāroli' cult for two to three years, to enable them to develop to physical maturity and prepare for marriage. Firm muscles, a full beard and healthy hair could be achieved through periods of seclusion in the bush, self-discipline, the study of mythology and lore, performing 'gāmu' (magic chants) and the keeping of the 'ìba gìya', a magically potent plant.

When 'hāroli' initiates finally appeared in public, they wore crescent-shaped wigs known as 'mánda', which were made from their own hair and coloured with 'hare' (red clay). The 'mánda hare' is typically decorated at the front with the crest of a Superb Bird of Paradise, and adorned with Raggiana Bird of Paradise plumes, parrot and other bird feathers.

[Exhibition text for 'Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands', AGNSW, 2014]

Place of origin
Tari, Tari-Pori District, Hela Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Huli people
mid 20th century
collected 1965
Ceremonial object
human hair, Superb Bird of Paradise breast shield (Lophorina superba), red ochre pigment, white glass beads, machine-made button, rattan, plant fibre string
20.5 x 46.0 x 23.0 cm
Purchased 1977
Accession number
© Huli people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics