An image of Decorated male figure

Usarufa people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Decorated male figure

Other titles:
Male figure (witch doctor), Male figure to guard men's house
Not on display
Further information

Constructed from an astounding array of natural materials, this figure is dressed in the everyday attire of a village man, including a woven belt with wooden 'bat-winged' codpiece, cowrie-shell waistband, woven armbands, nose peg and feathered headbands.

Stan Moriarty described these figures as 'decoy figures', noting their placement inside men's houses and in gardens, with the aim to confound enemy assailants.

Place of origin
Kagu village, Okapa District, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Usarufa people
mid 20th century
collected 1964
wood, split rattan, sedge grass, seeds, marsupial tails and fur, pig tusks, cowrie shells (Cypraeidae), yellow orchid stem fibre (Dendrobium), plant fibre string, feathers, natural pigments
157.5 cm height (figure) :
a - figure, 157.5 cm, height
b - grass lap lap, 44 cm, height
c - 2 possum fur headdress attachments, 43 cm, length of longest attachment
d - lap lap, 40 cm, overall
e - mother of pearl necklace, 47 cm, length
f - penis girdle, 40 cm, height
g - main headdress, 25 cm, 25.0 overall; wood piece 8.0 height
h - waist belt, 18 cm, width
i - waist belt, 20 cm, width
Purchased 1977
Accession number
© Fore people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics