The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

I have thought it better to avoid the insertion of frequent, and perhaps somewhat confusing, references to these plates in the body of my notes upon the feast, and to take the plates separately, drawing attention to what appear to be points of interest in them.

Plate 67 represents the scene at Amalala immediately prior to or during the general distribution of vegetables and fruits (ante heading 11).  A comparison of this scene with the village in its normal condition, as shown in Plates 56 and 57, gives some idea of the very extensive and elaborate preparations which are made for the feast.  On the right hand side are seen some view platforms, and beyond them on the same side is a normal house.  Here and there are the big posts surrounded with bamboo stems (notice these posts denuded of their bamboo appendages still remaining in the village enclosure as shown in Plates 56 and 57).  Some of the vegetables are seen still hanging upon these post clusters, and near the base of two of them are seen the sheaves of croton leaves.  There are apparently no skulls and bones upon the posts seen in the plate, but possibly the re-hanging of these had not been attended to when the photo was taken, or perhaps they had been suspended to other posts not shown in the photograph.  Upon the ground are the heaps of vegetables, and close to some of these are the stakes round which are twined strings of seeds of the ine Pandanus.

Plate 68 is a photograph taken after the subsequent pig-killing, and shows the pigs’ bodies lying in a row along the centre of the village enclosure, with the measuring line of poles placed above them.  It will be noticed that the elaborate view platforms have been cleared away, but that the bamboo stems have not yet been removed from their central posts.

Plate 69 represents a scene at Seluku prior to a big feast then about to be held.  The view platforms have not yet been erected.  But the post clusters have been erected, and the yams and croton leaves have been hung upon them.  In the centre of the village enclosure is the chief’s grave platform, which will be cut down during the festivities in the way above described.

The bones of the chief are in the box-like receptacle at the top of the structure, and the receptacle rather further down (underneath the other one) contains the bones of a chief’s child.

Plate 70 shows five men at the Seluku feast with full dancing ornaments, including the great feather head ornaments.  One of them has donned a piece of European calico, and the one to the extreme right appears to have done the same.  These would doubtless be regarded as highly decorative additions.  A few long thin dancing ribbons can be seen hanging from their belts.  The elaborate carved (turtle?) shell ornament hanging over the breast of the man to the left is certainly not of Mafulu make, and has probably come from the coast.  I never saw anything like it when I was at Mafulu.  The two boys in front are holding the ornament of elaborately prepared strings of feathers hung upon a stick, and worn by dancers on their backs, and into which the best feathers are generally put.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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