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Palambei is a short, 20 minute walk off the Sepik past the extensive village gardens. The village was bombed during WWII and its stilt houses and Haus Tambarans destroyed. The towering house posts from some of the old structures still loom protectively over the long, grassy area between the two current Haus Tambarans.
Palambei women lay out their string bags, called bilums in Tok Pisin, for sale along this strip. Sepik bilums are strong, made with fairly heavy string and an open weave which expands to hold almost anything that needs carrying including babies. The designs are named. For example, one ribbed design is called "bone fish". Sometimes they are bilased with tassels, seeds or shells.
Women make small bilums for their close male relatives. The men carry cigarettes, money, betel nut and hunting or other magic charms in them. The large work bilums are the women's. A medium size is made for sale to tourists.
Palambei carvings are very open and curvilinear with lots of finely painted details. Birds associated with the clans are a favorite subject. Another one of their hooks is illustrated in the article on Basket Hooks in our Guide to Artifacts.
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Artifacts on this site were collected in the field by my husband, Ron Perry. I take the photographs, do the html, text and maps. Background in Who We Are. Art-Pacific has been on the WWW since 1996. We hope you enjoy our New Guinea tribal art and Indonesian folk art as much as we do.
Art-Pacific.com by Carolyn Leigh is licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0