The Kuku-Kuku of Papua New Guinea

Eleven days ago I posted about Ángel Pantoja Medina who died and, as per his request, his body was displayed standing up at the viewing. In the comments, Big Gary noted that it reminded him of a photo he had seen in an anthropology book of a New Guinea tribe who smoked their dead and displayed the corpses sitting up. We now have that picture!

I present to you the Kuku-Kuku of Papua New Guinea. (I'm not making that name up.) The image is in The Circle of Life: Rituals from the human family album. The caption explains that the Kuku-Kuku:
mummify their deceased relatives by smoking them over a fire. The ceremony begins with four days of mourning during which relatives wail, throw themselves on the corpse, eat dirt, tear their hair and beat their foreheads with stones until they bleed. Once the fire is lit and the body begins to dry out, the displays of intense sorrow taper off. After several days, the body is completely dehydrated and put in a place of honor.

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 29, 2008
     Category: Death

I don't get what's so weird here? Don't the Irish pickle their dead? And in the US the law says we have to pump'em full of formaldehyde, store them in a steel box, put that box inside a 6in thick concrete box, then bury it all 6ft down. Now, that's weird!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/29/08 at 10:52 PM
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