TITI – Evolution of Decorative Art in the Papuan Gulf Region of New Guinea

Published by: Thomas Schultze-Westrum

a forthcoming  e-book publication






I A Personal Foreword (21 pages)


Postscriptum on 21st November, 2005

Postscriptum on 15th September, 2006

Postscriptum on 3rd February, 2007

Final Postscriptum

II From the Papuans‘ Point of View – an initial tribute to the Gulf people

(14 pages)

01 A – Tales from the Time of Migration

02 B – Images of Our Dreams: the shaping of ímunu

03 C – A synopsis of the feelings and dreams of the people as documented in

field diaries, in letters and published sources, and how these

expectations ended in agony and despair

III The Physical Environment, with emphasis on the living conditions

and adapations of the native people in their ways of life to the Delta

(8 pages)

IV The Rescue Operation (16 pages)

V Remarks about Research Methods (17 pages)

01 The role of photography in ethnographical research

VI Terms and Definitions (33 pages)


Definitions for selected, significant terms:



Clan and further social units



Tribal culture

Tribal decorative art




Further comments on “Style”

Extension of the chapter Terms and Definitions:

VI-02 Alien encounters (8 pages)

VII The Status of Scientific Knowledge (12 pages, incl. A)


01 A – Early exploration

02 B – Ethnographical research (17 pages incl. C)

03 C – The first documentations of Papuan Gulf art objects

04 D – Archaeological Research in the Papuan Gulf (7 pages)

VIII A Classification of Decorated Cult and Other Traditional Objects

and their Regional Distribution (14 pages)

IX The Making of Art – Tools and Techniques, the Artists

9 pages)

01 Materials

02 The techniques of making art

03 Making kópe

04 Making hoháo

05 East and west compared

X The Germinal Culture (Lower Fly River) (8 pages)

01 Kiwai visual arts

02gópe and mímia

03 Germinal style elements

XI Early Migrations and Expansion over the Gulf Region (68 pages)

01 The geological evidence

02 The first eastwards migration

03 The Neuri upheaval

04 The first Delta settlement

05 Reflections of the ancestral home

06 Tales about O’uri

07 Further notes about the first migrations

08 Kerewo proper

09 Reviewing the outset

10 Extended eastwards migration

11 Moving from O’a to Urama Island

12 áwae in dúbu wéneh Omau

12 a Urama history unfolding

13  Genealogies Kinomere (collected mostly 1968 and 1970)

14 áwae in dúbu wéneh Daubai (at Kinomere)

15 Diagram of áwae in dúbu wéneh Daubai (at Kinomere)

16 Colonization of the Ivi – Mure Rivers area

17 Spreading over the Wapo – Era Rivers area

18 Raiding Old Baravi and Era-Goiravi villages

19 The discoveries by Th. F. Bevan during is 5th voyage (Nov. – Dec.


20 dúbu mére in the Gope ethnic district

21 The Papuan Gulf – a model of indigenous human expansion

22 Migrations in the Purari Delta and cultural radiation further to the east

23  Final stages of the migration from the Fly River eastwards

24  Further evolutionary aspects

25  Movements of cultural patterns from the Purari Delta westwards

26 Legends of Sido – Hido – Iko.

XII The Head Cult (19 pages)

01 Origins of head-hunting

02 Head-hunters on the war path

03 The beheading knife

04 Preparing the head trophy

05 Bamu River skull trophies

06 The head cult spreads eastwards

07 Regional differentiation in decorating and displaying the head


08 Introducing the agíbe

09 Kerewo agíbe

10 Turama and Gama Rivers agíbe

11 The agíbe tablets and “cut out figures” – the meaning of the term


12 The áwae skull shrines in the Urama, Gope and Era – Kipaia ethnic


13 Head cult of the Namau and Elema tribes

14 Significance of the head cult in Papuan Gulf cultures

XIII The gópe and Other Ovoid Ceremonial Objects (27 pages)


01 (Oval) board derivates

02 Bullroarers

03 The gópekópekwói (ko-é) – hoháo

04 The titi ébihakaiaímunu

05 The daímo ébiha (Turamarubi ethnic district)

06 The agíbe

07 The ovoid hévehe masks.

XIV Masks and Dance Costumes (19 pages)


01 The plaited masks of the west

02 Transition to the bark-cloth covered masks of the east

03 The kanípu and harísu masks

04 The two concepts of mask making in the Papuan Gulf

05 The cone – shaped masks of the eastern Gulf (kováve eháro)

06 The oval – shaped masks

07 The Hévehe ceremonies of Orokolo

08 The sacred sphere of masks

09 Stylistic annotations (differentiation)

10 Migrations of mask designs and significance of innovative centres

XV obadúbu and iriwáke (20 pages)

01 The mysterious obadúbu.

02Introducing the iriwáke

03 Further unveiling the obadúbu

04 … and the iriwáke

05 Torn and twisted

06 Out of nowhere

07 Further reading – the correspondence with Sotheby’s relating to the

Kiwaumai iriwáke

XVI Spiritual Principles, Ceremonies and Festive Cycles (19 pages)

01 ímunu

02 Origins of the kaiaímunuébiha cult

03 Highly sacred – and top secret

04 Ceremonial performances

05 The Obína and other dances

06 The Paírama

07 The Gópi

08 The Erímunu

09 Spreading of ceremonies

10 The Kaikai Oboro

11 The Múguru

12 Festive seasons

13 Vage reflections only…

14 Héwehe – the “Drama of Orokolo”

XVII TITI– the Concept and Evolution of Decorative Design(32 pages)

01 Autonomous tribal society

02 Tribal artistic expression

03 The origins of spiritual power in tribal art

04 The personal – and natural dimensions of sacredness

05 The artist’s potentiality of expression

06 Aesthetics as agents in tribal artistic performances

07 The significance of titi

08 Archaic images – approaching their assessment

09 The oldest effigies under examination

10 Universal prototypes

11 From universal to endemic art presentation

12 Reflections of bygone times

13 Coming to terms with the expression of prototype titi

14 The power of realistic simplicity in artistic expression

15 titi become symbols

16 Towards further objectives in exploring Papuan Gulf art.

14 An excursus into tribal diversity: the example of Kwoma society

15 Comparing west and east (in the Gulf region)

16 Renewal versus innovation

XVIII Modification of Design versus Continuity of Style (71 pages)

01 Theory and factual evidence

02 Geometrical titi

03 Stylistic heritage

04 Comparing geometrical (linear) and figurative titi

05 An interim synopsis

06 Focus on stylistic identity of ethnic units

07 The shaping of style in tribal society

08 Stages in tribal arts evolution

09 Modification or aberration – acceptance or rejection of new


10 Evolutionary differentiation of titi on kópe effigies and other

ceremonial objects in the Urama, Gope and Era – Kipaia ethnic


11 Building a body – with two sets of arms (and legs)

12 Comparison of kópe with hoháo and kwói (mostly) oval board –

shaped effigies

13 The Kerewo titi ébiha and kaiaímunu board – shaped effigies

14 titi on ímunu and kakáme “root figures”, bióma and statues in


15 From simple realism towards complexity and abstraction

16 Further aspects of “abstraction”

17 Preferences and interpretations (titi)

18 Concluding remarks

IXX The Present and Future Significance of Papuan Gulf Decorative Art

(34 pages)


01 A dramatic shift

02 Mere reflections

03 Sales and sell-out

04 No place at home

05 Trimming the message

06 Fairy-tales unlimited

07 Setting the trend

08“Ancestral” once again

09 The distinct concepts of cultural diversity

10 Who is concerned ?

11 Global perspectives – one stream of evolution

XX Appendices: Maps; collection George Craig; donations to the Papua New Guinea National Museum; bullroarers coll. Michael Hamson and Holger Braun.

Papuan Gulf Bibliography


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This entry was posted on Juni 15, 2010 at 13:47 and is filed under Book Publications, Gulf of Papua, Mysterious Images, Tribal Cultures.

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