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

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 kaiaímunu - ébiha 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


Veröffentlicht am Kategorien Book Publications, Gulf of Papua, Mysterious Images, Tribal CulturesSchlagwörter , ,

Über Thomas Schultze-Westrum

Dr. Thomas Georg Hans SCHULTZE-WESTRUM Author of Scientific and Popular Publications Producer and Director of Documentary Films and Videos Adviser in Nature Conservation and Preservation of Rural Cultures Initiator of Conservation Programmes German national. Born 1937 (Berlin). Classical education at the Benedictine monastery of Ettal in Upper Bavaria. Graduate of Munich University, with degrees in Zoology, Geology and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology). Scholarship by “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. Research (University of Munich, other scientific institutions) and publications on social and population physiology of marsupials and other vertebrate fauna of New Guinea and the Mediterranean Region, cultural anthropology, conservation and resource management on the village level, mainly in Greece and New Guinea. Author of the books “New Guinea” (Berne 1972) and “Biologie des Friedens” (Biology of Peace), Munich 1974. Dr. Schultze-Westrum has joined for several years the Commissions on Ecology and Environmental Planning of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). He is the founder of the working group (IUCN Commission on Ecology) “Conservation and Traditional Life Styles” 1979; the “ECOCULTURE” Movement 1981; the “Gesellschaft für die Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen” GEH (Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Breeds of Domestic Animals) 1981; and the non-profit-making society “KALLIERGIA”, for traditional agriculture and village conservation in Greece, 1993. As a consultant he has worked for the EU, IUCN, OECD and WWF. As a film maker he has produced, directed and mostly also shot, for German television and international TV networks, 75 documentaries, mainly ecological portraits with emphasis upon the integration of local and traditionally living people into conservation projects. His first film (1974) was about alternative (sustainable) utilization of tropical rainforests in New Guinea, for ZDF. Never Dr. Schultze-Westrum has entered any of his films into an award winning competition, because he is more concerned about the effects of his TV work in actual conservation and public awareness. One of these real awards was the creation of the Marine National Park Alonnisos Northern Sporades in Greece as a result of his film “The Coast of the Monk Seals” in 1976/77 for ZDF (ratings 36 % - shown in 11 countries). His programme “Green Desert”, about traditional water management in the Sultanate of Oman was distributed by the Television Trust for the Environment TVE to 44, mainly Third World, countries. Another leading aspect of his film work was the production of environmental films for the people of the country where he was filming. So, he produced the first TV series of films on ecology, rural life styles and conservation for Greece (in the early 80’s, 14 programmes) and for the Sultanate of Oman (late 80’s, 12 films). His deep interest in ancient human traditions inspired him to produce “Omani Seafaring”, for Oman TV; “Im Kielwasser Sindbads” (In the Wake of Sindbad), for the series Terra X of ZDF; and “Insel der Magier” (Island of the Sorcerers: Waigeo) for ARTE TV. After retiring from TV film production at the end of 2002 he is returning to his earlier scientific work (abandoned in the early 70’s) about the social and population physiology of marsupials ( Petaurus breviceps papuanus and closely related species); village based conservation; the evolution of human communal behaviour and cultural diversity; and the evolution of art styles in the Papuan Gulf province of New Guinea. Since 1992 he is also involved in eco- and agrotourism programmes that are based on his earlier promotion of this alternative “soft” tourism through publications and films, in Greece and West Papua. His conservation activities are continuously focussed on Greece and New Guinea, since 1957 and 1959, respectively. Dr. Schultze-Westrum now is writing up his experiences of many years field work and he is keeping communications alive through his homepage, from the ancient village of Kazaviti on the island of Thassos in the northern Aegean Sea. The conservation and re-activation of outstanding traditional values of Kazaviti stand at the centre of a local museum and documentation centre to be set up in one or even two old Macedonian stone houses.