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 > Iatmul group
Mr Des Bartlett 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1954 
Acquisition method
Purchased from Mr Des Bartlett 
H: W: L: D: Circum:


Black and white photo of two men, wearing loin clothes and pendants, carry a cassowary attached to a pole between them. Two other men wearing headdresses walk past. In the background are children and a house.

Research notes

"Men returning to the village with a Cassowary lashed to a pole with strips of cane. The Cassowary provides the largest single source of red meat for the natives in the Sepik area, and it is therefore a great occasion when one is speared in the scrub off the main river. The eggs are also a great delicacy, and the bush natives trade them for fish from the river people. A native never minds if there is a pickaninny in the egg as it adds to the flavour. When cutting up a Cassowary the natives are very careful not to tread in the blood as this could cause sores on the feet which would not heal. Similarly the natives dread the death adder which is not uncommon on the Sepik. This is such an evil snake that even the smell of it will make you sick, and for this reason the natives do not like approaching a death adder even after it has been killed. If should be picked up with a length of split bamboo and thrown in the river" (Bartlett 1953).

Part of group of photos numbering 31907, 34504, 34518. 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.

Go to top