jens bjerre, love, nut, papua new guinea, moesgaard museum, de etnografiske samlinger, ethnography, collections, museum, aarhus, denmark

Nuts about love?

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You know the feeling. The feeling of being young and in love. Life is golden sunshine and you want to embrace the whole world and all living creatures in it. Beauty pervades everything. You cannot think clearly – and you don’t care! All you think about is – her. How you want to smell her hair, kiss her neck, and feel her closeness….

But how do you tell her? Should I go right up to her and  declare my love? No…too risky. If she turns me down, I will be embarrassed in front of the whole village. Write a message to her in the sand below her hut…? No, her father might see it. Oh, wait…. I will find a ‘love nut’, make it hollow. Then I will go close to her hut, when her father and brothers are out hunting, and then I will play the nut for her. The sound will declare my love to her. And I can just hope that she will come out in the night and answer my calling…

This little nut is a trumpet of love used by young men in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s, when the Danish explorer, Jens Bjerre, collected it. Supposedly, if you wanted to declare your love to a girl, this was the way to do it. Whether this approach is still in use, is unknown…

//Ulrik Høj Johnsen

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putting thought to things

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