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The Korowai

jounk Korowai with a wild pig
The Korowai are direct neighbours of the Asmat. and live north of the Dairam Kabiur. Their habitat is limited by two large rivers and the mountains in the north. Their swampy area is approximately 600 km² bid. In this difficult area are living up to 2500 Korowai together in small family groups. The Korowai are hunters and collectors. They nourish themselves mainly with Sago which they won from Sago palms. They refer their main protein food from the larvae of the Capricorn beetle. The huntable animals represent their further base of live. There are wild pigs; Casuar bird; birds; snakes; and small insects. Vegetable food is also very important for them. Especially palmleaves, .fern, breadfruit and the red pandanaefruit.
The Korowai live together in small family groups in treehouses. These treehouses can reach heights up to 50 meters, what however only in exceptional cases the case is. The Korowai build such kind of treehouses only if there is a disput with the neighbours, or if they live in an hostile area. Their normal treehouses are around 6 to 25 Meters high. A Korowai family with up to eight persons live in such kind of houses. But there is a strictly separatism between men and women. Their material culture is exclusively limited to indispensable things of daily live as well as decoration articles for the body.
climb up a small treehouse
Korowai women with bananas for grilling
Particularly to call the still common stone axe, bone knifes as well as the gravestick to remove the hard skin from a Sagotree and the wooden Sagohammer. For the decoration of the body we have to name the bones from the wings of a flying fox. The Korowai women place this in the nose. Also the necklace from dog´s tooth are really important for them. The mother give these necklaces to the daughter and this is still in use. The men use necklaces from pig´s tooth. The women use only a small skirt made from treeskin and Sagofibres. The men use only a leaf around the penis. Some groups have just the half of a nut around the penis. Around the chest you can see also some rotanings.

Without their net the women never move out of the treehouse. The men never move out without bow and arrows.

On the way to the Sayakh...........


İHarald Melcher´99 
Postbox 1223
76585 Gernsbach
Germany

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