Brown cassowary feather headdress.

Feather Head Ornament, Mafulu People, Uplands of Central Province, Southern Papua New Guinea Although the feather head ornaments of the Mafulu people were historically not quite so elaborate as those of their lowlands Mekeo neighbours, they were nevertheless impressive constructions, and enormously varied. Worn by men at dances to fringe the hairline of the forehead, such ornaments were often layered in their construction, or layered by donning two, three or more, one behind another. Unlike many New Guinea peoples, the Mafulu did not trade for feathers from elsewhere in the island, and so all the feathers they used were local to that upland belt of the Central Province. Nevertheless, an impressive range of bower bird, parrot, cockatoo, hornbill and cassowary species are represented in their feather-work constructions. This particular example uses the downy feathers of young Southern Cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius). Feather, vegetable fibre. Collected in 1910 by Dr Robert Williamson and sold by him to the Horniman Museum in 1932.

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