The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 290 pages of information about The Mafulu.

A curious characteristic with them is the big toe, which is usually much developed, and projects outwards at a larger angle than is the case with the Roro and Mekeo people, and is much used for holding on to roots, &c., whilst travelling along their rough mountain paths.

Their general colour is a dark sooty brown, a trifle darker, perhaps, than that of the Kuni people, and contrasting forcibly with the varying shades of chocolate which you find among the Roro and Mekeo people.  They are smooth-skinned.

Their hair is frizzly, and generally dark brown, often quite dark, almost even approaching to black, and sometimes perhaps quite black.  But it is frequently lighter; and indeed I was often, when observing men’s hair lit up by sunshine, impressed by the fact that its brown colour was not even what we should in Europe call dark. [31] I often saw marked variations in the depth of hair colour on the head of the same individual.  I saw no examples of the comparatively straight or curly type of hair which is found in the Pokau district and elsewhere. [32]

Plate 3 gives front and side views of the mesaticephalic (almost brachycephalic) skull A and Plate 4 gives similar views of the dolichocephalic skull C. All the photographs were made as nearly as possible exactly half the sizes of the originals; but the photographer has made the front view of skull A about an eighth of an inch too narrow (with, of course, a corresponding deficiency in height), so that the tendency to roundness of this skull is not quite sufficiently shown, and the proportion of its height to its length is reduced, in the plate.  I am not a craniologist, and so I do not attempt to discuss the more detailed points of interest which arise in connection with these skulls.

A good idea of the somewhat varying characters of the general physiques and features of the people will be obtained from my plates; but there are a few of these plates which I may mention here.

The people shown in Plates 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 16 may, I think, be regarded as fairly typical, and I would draw attention to the somewhat Melanesian tendency of feature which is disclosed by the faces of the man in Plate 6, the young man in the middle in Plate 7 and the fourth and sixth men from the left in Plate 9; also to the great diversity shown in Plate 9.  The man shown in Plate 10, with his thick and strong muscular development, is of a type which is occasionally seen, but which is, I believe, unusual.  The two men figured in Plates 11 and 12 are, I think, specially interesting.  The one to the right, with his somewhat backward sloping forehead, and slightly arched nose, shows a distinct tendency towards the type of the Western Papuan, to which I have already referred.  The other one is in general shape of head and appearance of features not unlike some of the dwarf people found by the recent expedition into Dutch New Guinea (see the man to the left in Plate 4 of the page of illustrations in The Illustrated London News for September 2, 1911), and indeed there is almost an Australian tendency in his face.  It is noticeable that he has a beard and moustache, which is quite unusual among the Mafulu.  A somewhat similar type of face may be noticed in one or two of the other plates.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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