A number of different tribes have lived scattered across the highland plateau for 1000 years, in small agrarian clans, #isolated by the harsh terrain and divided by language, custom and tradition. The legendary Asaro Mudmen first met with the Western world in the middle of the 20th century.
“The circumstances in the mountain swamps were physically very arduous, but not particularly dangerous.”
ASARO FROM THE EASTERN HIGHLANDS
The mudmen could not cover their faces with mud because the #people of Papua New Guinea thought that the mud from the Asaro river was poisonous. So instead of covering their faces with this alleged poison, they made masks from pebbles that they heated and water from the waterfall, with unusual designs such as 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.
“Our naivety got us access to many beautiful pictures.”
The Asaro cover themselves in mud, wear terrifying masks and brandishing spears. Legend has it that the Mudmen were defeated by an enemy #tribe
and forced to flee into the Asaro River.
They waited until dusk before attempting to escape. The enemy saw them rise from the muddy banks covered in mud and thought they were spirits. Terrified, they ran back to their village. After that episode, all of the neighbouring villages came to believe the Asaro had the spirits of the river on their side. Clever elders of the village saw the advantage of this and kept the illusion alive.