An image of Rimbu (ceremonial headdress)

Kewa people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Rimbu (ceremonial headdress)

Other titles:
Ceremonial hat
Location
Not on display
Further information

'Rimbu' was a powerful spirit cult practiced by several groups across the southern highlands, in particular the Kewa 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. '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.

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

Place of origin
Kagua-Erave District, Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Kewa people
Year
mid 20th century
collected 1964
Media
Mixed media
Medium
coil-woven rattan, plant fibre, red and blue pigments, white clay
Dimensions
75.0 x 48.5 x 30.0 cm :
0 - Whole; 75 cm
0 - Whole; 48.5 cm
0 - Whole; 30 cm
Credit
Purchased 1977
Accession number
247.1977
Copyright
© Kewa people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics