WHAT IS THEIR PHILOSOPHY OF LIfE
"A FEROCIOUS APPEARANCE CAN DISSUADE YOUR ENEMIES AND SAFE YOUR LIFE."
Several generations ago Asaro had been hunted by a stronger enemy tribe. They were about to lose the war. At that moment, an old man from their village had a dream in which he saw terrifying gray spirit. Next morning, he woke up with the idea to make a mask out of mud that resembles the image from his vision. Once noticed, enemies fled scared and Asaro were saved. Ever since Asaro Mudmen mastered how effectively to use the power of human imagination and the fear of unknown in order to stay alive.
WHERE asaro mudmen LIVE
In the heart of the Eastern Highlands is the location of New Guinea island highest point – Mt. Wilhelm (4609m). On its South Eastern side, near the Daulo pass, Asaro river flows and forms a small valley between the very steep peaks covered by dense jungle. This is the home of Asaro Mudmen.
On both river banks live about 30000 Asaro Mudmen who control the access to the fertile Markham and Ramu valleys as well as several gold funds. They speak dano dialect part of the Kainantu - Goroka language. This is very rare and spread only in a very small part of Papua New Guinea.
The constant battles of the highlander tribes as well as the rough terrain makes reallocation very difficult. The bond to the land is most important and the rights to own and the duty to protect it is inherited from father to son. In a year thousands men lose their lives. Every village and settlement studies how to defend itself better. Some created better bows, other improved spears and arrows or better shields for self protection.
According to the legend, the Asaro have invented an ingenious way to prevent war or minimize casualties if it’s impossible to avoid the conflict. Their way for defense is to turn to the spirits in order to frighten their enemies. For this they made masks made of special clay and designed to appear as monsters from other world. Majority of the Highlanders believe in the existence of the super humans who live deep in the rainforest, inside rivers or caves. This is their religion and all tribes give special offerings to please those Gods.
After warriors are ready with their masks Asaro cover their skin with clay, while singing secretive spells to increase power in the battle. Furthermore, a decoration with plants covered by mud is added. All movements are slow and graceful in order to look more convincing and ferocious. Usually Asaro appear near the muddy river bank at dusk every now and then. They want to keep fear in the souls of any potential enemy who might desire to conquer their lands.
Because of their the special white clay that covers their bodies and the scary masks, Asaro people are called Asaro Mudmen.
Asaro masks have various design. Some of them have long or very short ears either going down to the chin or sticking up at the top, long joined eyebrows attached to the top of the ears, horns and sideways mouths.
Despite their striking appearance and slow spirit-like movements, Asaro are some of the most hospitable people. Guests are welcomed, and Asaro are proud to show and explain their culture.