B & W negative

Registration number
Item name
B & W negative 
Indigenous name
Mr Des Bartlett  
Associated cultural group
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > East Sepik Province > Wosera Gaui District > Yentchan village
Mr Des Bartlett 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1954 
Acquisition method
Purchased from Mr Des Bartlett 
H: W: L: D: Circum:


A black and white photograph of a house which is slightly elevated on tree stumps and located in a small clearing surrounded by trees. One adult male and three male children stand at the entrance.

Research notes

"This native house at Yentchan Village on the Middle Sepik is typical of most living houses built by the coastal and river natives on Northern New Guinea. The solid ridge pole and main floor members rest in the "U" shaped ends of the uprights, and all the smaller timber is lashed together with split cane. Palm leaves are folded over from the centre stem and the leaves laced together. This is used for the roof and outside wall covering and is overlapped until it forms a solid barrier one foot thick. Even the most torrential tropical downpour will not drip through a newly constructed roof, but there is such an abundance of insect life ever waiting for a fresh supply of food. Day and night the myriad jaws of busy weevils creates an ever audible murmur, and dust from their feasting in constantly falling to the floor. But even with this activity it is usually over two years before the foot thick roof is eaten through. The hardwood garamout is much prized for building, and seems to be impervious to the action of borers, even when buried" (Bartlett 1953).

Part of a series of copies of 330 photos in the range 31891 to 34881 taken by Bartlett on a 1953 trip to the Sepik River with Armand and Michaela Dennis who were making the film 'Among the Headhunters' which was released by Arthur J Rank. The photos include an initiation ceremony held at Yanchan Village on the main river. The photos come from an album of the trip made by Bartlett, a copy of which given to the museum in 1983 along with other photos which were copied at that time.

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