Tony Crook

in Anthropological Knowledge, Secrecy and Bolivip, Papua New Guinea

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264003
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734151 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs


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Three young brothers were bouncing up and down on the wobbly verandah of their house in Bolivip, rejoicing the name of their newly acquired hunting dog. These boys had yet to be shown either the residential men's house or the yolam cult house, and remained wanang am alin (‘those of the women's house’). Taros grow head down, bottom up – but once harvested and severed, the corm's flat top is spoken of as the taro's ‘head’. They are planted offset at a slight angle. Walking through the old garden where his mother and grandmother were lifting taros, one of Recky's teenage rejoicers paused by a growing plant and described the taro leaf as a face, with ears, eyes, nose, and tongue. The now-successful gardener explained that the taram was shaped by Afek following and copying the image of her genitals. Listening to those taram mouth-harp songs of birds, women, and water, Recky's follower–owner father explained how the Feranmin man was following the same path that he himself used when out hunting marsupials with his dog. Angkaiyakmin knowledge it seems is necessarily the result of combined persons and takes the form of persons combined.

Keywords: Bolivip; taros; eip; taram; Angkaiyakmin

Chapter.  11667 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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