Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Australia, Oceania, Collections, Bones, tribe, Moesgaard Museum, momu, ethnography, exploration, Jens Bjerre, Anthropology, expedition, bones, decoration, belt

Lookin’ good: the New Guinean bone belt

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Oceania

Fashion is a varied and subjective thing. What looked good 30 years ago is not necessarily considered beautiful today (though often trends come back to haunt us – I am looking at you, 1990s…).

But today I am not looking at the fashion trends of Danish shops. Indeed, I have turned my sight upon a place a little further afield: 1950s Australian Territory of New Guinea. Here, the smartest guy around did not wear a leather jacket, suit, or a smart watch. No, the coolest hunters in the community wore a belt made from two pig’s femurs, like the one in the picture above.

The ‘belt’ was collected by explorer Jens Bjerre in 1953. He travelled the world and visited remote and fascinating regions; from the San in Botswana, to the aboriginal population in the Northern Territory – he even went to the Himalaya to look for the yeti.

Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Australia, Oceania, Collections, Bones, tribe, Moesgaard Museum, momu, ethnography, exploration, Jens Bjerre, Anthropology, expedition

Here is a young Jens Bjerre, chatting to some people he met on his travels to New Guinea.

Of the bone belt, Bjerre writes:

“Two pig’s bones that the men wore around their stomach. It shows that the man is a great hunter. I had to tempt him with extra tobacco to convince him to let it go…”

Just as a little extra treat, here are a few of Bjerre’s photographs, from his trip to New Guinea:

Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Australia, Oceania, Collections, Bones, tribe, Moesgaard Museum, momu, ethnography, exploration, Jens Bjerre, Anthropology, expedition

Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Australia, Oceania, Collections, Bones, tribe, Moesgaard Museum, momu, ethnography, exploration, Jens Bjerre, Anthropology, expedition

Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Australia, Oceania, Collections, Bones, tribe, Moesgaard Museum, momu, ethnography, exploration, Jens Bjerre, Anthropology, expedition

Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Australia, Oceania, Collections, Bones, tribe, Moesgaard Museum, momu, ethnography, exploration, Jens Bjerre, Anthropology, expedition

Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Australia, Oceania, Collections, Bones, tribe, Moesgaard Museum, momu, ethnography, exploration, Jens Bjerre, Anthropology, expedition

//Sophie Seebach

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