Huli Wig Man by bobfoto

Huli Wig Man

In the life of the Huli, when the young Huli boy shows knowledge that he has become a boy and not a girl like all the others around him, he his removed from his mother and raised by his father and uncles. Sometimes the Huli Wig Doctor will identify a young growing boy as being special and may in his adolescence remove the young man and take him to Wig School. The Huli Doctor will teach the young man all that he needs to survive in life, how to look pretty and how to become a fierce warrior, but most important of all, is how to grow HAIR!

He we see the strong Huli Wig Man proudly displaying perhaps his third Wig. While he is chaste in virtue and unspoilt by the magical Huli women, in isolation, this proud Huli and a few of his chosen kindred will live together and grow Wigs; these mushroom shaped domes of human hair. Each day, the Huli Wig Doctor will teach them to bless their wigs in the stream behind him using a secret herb to anoint their not-so-flowing locks. At night the men sleep in their man house using a block of timber to support their necks and keep the hair suspended off the ground for fear of crushing their hard work. During the day, the Huli men chosen will sit together and remove debris and insects from each others' Wigs, carefully grooming and shaping the Wigs until they are ready for removal.

A Huli man will often grow 3 Wigs in his time of isolation, one Wig will become his performance Wig, or his Wig to Impress, a second Wig will become his "around the house" Wig, one for more everyday use, and the third can be sold off to less fortunate men who simply are not chosen and these men can then, once they have their wig, can go and seek the fortune that having a wig will bring, and that is the ownership of Pigs. Because once you have the Wig, then you get the Pigs and then and only then, you get the Women.

I one time saw two or three antique Wigs for sale, they were a little worse for wear, but would have still made for an interesting item to have around the home... but I doubted that Australia's strict custom regulations would allow the importation of such an item back into country... and they were expensive.

Oh and if you go back here... you can see some Huli Wigmen in full technicolour!

http://365project.org/bobfoto/365/2012-05-28

Wandering around Tari, down at the markets, I did see some older Huli Wigmen still wearing their day to day Wigs, just out and about doing their shopping. There is a mystique about the Huli and they are revered throughout PNG. Unfortunately, a real Huli Wigman is becoming far and few between with modernisation creeping into society. It was an honour to meet the three I met on this day, even with the spells the Huli Doctor kept casting on us... come to think of it, my beard has always been considerably thicker since I stayed with the Hulis.... hmmmm?

Photo taken 18 November 2006
What an incredible tradition! Great photo!
November 5th, 2012  
Great shot. Amazing tradition too!
November 5th, 2012  
Such a creative and impressive adornment of hair. Wigs to Pigs to Women. So much good stuff.
November 5th, 2012  
Have to wonder whether a framed copy of this photo hanging in a prominent position in his Hulihouse would not be a highly prized possession?
November 5th, 2012  
@swguevin @rwhite - Thanks Sheila and Rosie :)

@rockinrobyn - the Wigs have some serious weight to them, they are very weird to touch, and it is intriguing to look up underneath them to the hairline. They are pretty well just one big mushroom dreadlock!
November 5th, 2012  
o yes!!
November 5th, 2012  
Reminds me of a bluegrass tune, how about you? "I gotta pig, I gotta pen, and corn to feed him on, all I need is a pretty little girl to feed him when I'm gone." @rockinrobyn
November 5th, 2012  
@dauber - That sounds like a fine tune... and yes a picture like this would become a treasure for the man house. Thanks for stopping by Mr Anderson.
November 5th, 2012  
@dauber You're right! See, our worlds are more alike than they are different! (Which, also leads me to ask, as I always do when I hear the song, but why would you feed a pretty little girl to a pig ....(ha ha ha)).
November 5th, 2012  
@houdiniem - Fine Huli Man this chap!
November 5th, 2012  
@rockinrobyn - Hee hee hee.... love it!
November 5th, 2012  
I love reading your stories and, needless to say, your photos are amazingly good.
November 5th, 2012  
he poses like a pro! :D stunning!
November 5th, 2012  
Amazing traditions and culture, I love more and more hearing about it. Great portrait of the Wig Man and the culture.

Right now I just have this modified quote in Homer Simpson's voice running through my head: "First you get the wig, then you get the pig, then you get the women." Funnier to me...I guess you had to be there. :)
November 5th, 2012  
A wonderful tradition!! He looks quite fearsome!!
November 5th, 2012  
WOW That's what I call a wig, man!
Just love his pose, he looks so confident and almost haughty.... was he?
November 5th, 2012  
Nice pose that shows off the wig beautifully and great capture of it all, Jason!
November 5th, 2012  
Fantastic portrait.
November 5th, 2012  
Great shot and interesting info!
November 5th, 2012  
Very informative and intense!
November 5th, 2012  
excellent shot and right up... I've seen quite a few documentaries on tribes like these here and also those in western africa and south america that have had little or no contact with the 'modern world' and always find them very, very interesting
November 6th, 2012  
Fascinating story and photo.
November 6th, 2012  
This is an amazing shot! I really enjoy your photography. It reminds me of National Geographic and this is a sincere complement. My father travelled a lot in the military when I was growing up. He subscribed us to receive National Geographic magazines for many years and we could wonder about all the places he had been or where we could go.
November 6th, 2012  
Fav. This guy is amazing, and his stern pose looking to the side really emphasizes the wig story. I haven't seen comments about the thing in his nose, but that adds to his intimidating visage.
November 6th, 2012  
Amazing capture! very informative.
November 6th, 2012  
That is very impressive hair! Amazing story behind it too!
November 6th, 2012  
@vstowe - Thanks Victoria :)

@agentzuckerguss - I reckon he's seen a camera before my little point and shoot.

@geocacheking - It was the same voice in my head.

@carolmw - The Hulis are fearsome indeed.

@filsie65 - he was shy and retiring... didn't say much, the guide and the Doctor held the floor... he just posed in a Huli Manly and pretty way.

@grammyn - thanks Katy, that little pns was a cracker camera!

@kandernob @katrinacristy - Thanks Karen and Katrina!

November 6th, 2012  
Amazing!!!!!!!!!!
November 6th, 2012  
@httpgeffed - Thanks Colleen :)

@andycoleborn - they sure are that Andy!

@boatpainter - Thanks Janet :)

@angeliquenordal - I am so glad I bring back what sounds like some wonderful memories of your youth! :D

@rvwalker - thanks Ross, cheers!

@chrismarfil - Cheers Chris :)
November 6th, 2012  
@alia_801 - thanks Alia :)

@sangwann - Cheers Dione!
November 6th, 2012  
Wicked hairdo
November 6th, 2012  
Incredible. it's like watching National Geographic.
November 6th, 2012  
great shot. interesting and amazing story. :D
November 6th, 2012  
@johnnyfrs - word.

@msk1p2 - Thanks Sandra, thank you :)

@snowflakes86 - Why thank you Her Flores, thanks!
November 6th, 2012  
@bobfoto amaze w/ the hair thing. :) how they grow it and weave it then turn into big hat looking wig.it takes time and skills to do that.
November 6th, 2012  
@bobfoto You know it isn't the camera but the photographer, right?!
November 6th, 2012  
@snowflakes86 - this wig you see here, is still growing. He will shave it off close to the scalp and grow another.

@grammyn - something like that....
November 7th, 2012  
Do you know anything about the relationship between the boys and their mothers after they're removed and grow to adulthood? It's interesting that there is this separation; great for gender roles, but how is it for familial roles?
November 7th, 2012  
Wow! So very interesting, the wig and your description. Amazing shot! Thanks for sharing and for teaching me something new.
November 8th, 2012  
@mandyj92 - you're more than welcome Amanda! Thanks :)

@hellcat - There still seems to be a strong sense of family, or extended family ie clan. The whole Wantok system of speaking the "one talk" makes for richer ties then simply family. The people of Enga take it further where a mother does not raise her child, she will likely be breastfeeding while pregnant and raise that child and will adopt out her own to another woman to feed and raise. Speaking of your maternal parents is forbidden so a child grows and lives with their surrogate. All children and all parents in Enga are like that. One reason why the department of hatches, matches and dispatches has failed to hold a census in PNG.
November 8th, 2012  
@bobfoto Glad to know I'm not the only crazy hearing voices in my head. :) Also glad that for once "The Simpsons" humor is not wasted.
November 8th, 2012  
@geocacheking - can't imagine "The Simpsons" humour being wasted? Not here anyways...
November 8th, 2012  
What an imposing figure. Fantastic!
November 9th, 2012  
@daguerre - Thanks Lisa, he was a solid bloke!
November 9th, 2012  
What a fabulous head of hair!
November 9th, 2012  
That's interesting... I can see how that falls into the idea of a village to raise a child.
November 12th, 2012  
@kjarn - oh yeah!

@hellcat - Yup, family comes before village comes before parents.
November 12th, 2012  
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