The Aseki Smoked Bodies of Papua New Guinea

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[T]he people in Menyama smoke the bodies of their dead in order to preserve them, and then take the bodies up a very steep incline to a cliff.

These bodies—they are very much like mummies—are placed in such a way that they look down the mountain and upon the village far below. The people believe that these ancestors protect them, and keep them safe from harm.

[O]nly the warriors of the village are smoked and become the guardians of the village. A warrior’s son will also become a warrior. And only the son of a warrior can become a warrior.

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The bodies aren’t up there indefinitely, either. On occasion, a deceased relative will be brought back down from their cliffside perches for celebrations as mundane as a birthday party.

Top image via Mangiqau on flickriver.
Bottom two images by Amy Greeson on expedition with the non-profit Healing Seekers.

Via Papua New Guinea Journal. Also check out On Point.

This entry was posted in Best of Pretty Awful, Culture, Videos by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

7 thoughts on “The Aseki Smoked Bodies of Papua New Guinea

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