Wiru people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Rimbu (ceremonial headdress)

Other titles:
Ceremonial hat
Not on display
Further information

'Rimbu' was a powerful spirit cult practiced by several groups across the southern highlands, in particular the Kewa, Wiru and Anganen people. It is thought to have arrived in the Mendi Valley in the early 1900s. Ritual knowledge was bought and sold by powerful men and different forms of 'rimbu' were celebrated.

The cult involved constructing spirit houses, playing bamboo flutes ('the talk of the spirits'), reciting sacred words and sacrificing and eating pigs. Special ritual headdresses were also constructed and worn by men. 'Rimbu' was held to increase the health and fertility of people, pigs and gardens, and engaged a wide pantheon of spirits. It was an exclusively male endeavour with women and children excluded.

Place of origin
Pangia, Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Wiru people
collected 1967
Ceremonial object
cane, fibre, red, blue, white pigment
Purchased 1977
Accession number