Arrows and bows
Weapons, such as bows and arrows, had practical, as well as ritual uses among the Kuma, as Marie Reay found during her fieldwork. Dancers regularly hold spears, axes, and bows and arrows as "strength-giving ornaments" in the ceremonial dances during the Konggol. The shafts of arrows are sometimes decorated with burnt designs.
The elaborate carving of arrows is not just decorative, but also functional, as many are designed to rip or tear the skin in particular ways. Reay noted that one particular type of serrated arrow was meant "to tear the flesh of the victim when the weapon is removed." Her informants told her that during war, more casualties were caused by arrows than by the spears and axes, and that the general aim was to wound their enemies with arrows, and then send in those armed with spears and axes to finish off the wounded warriors.
In her book The Kuma: Freedom and Conformity in the New Guinea Highlands, Marie Reay noted that,
"Sorcerers shoot arrows from toy bows in the direction of enemy territory when they kill fowls and piglets to propitiate ancestral spirits.... Warfare is valued for its own sake, and it expresses the aggressive attitude men admire but cannot indulge to any extent within the community...The assertion of this value in ritual is an important way of maintaining and transmitting it to younger men."