Weaving and clothing

Marie Reay collected many examples of weavings from natural fibres made by her informants during her 1953-1955 fieldwork in the Wahgi Valley. Many were articles of clothing, such as the tangkets, collections of coloured leaves hung from the waistband of men "to cover the division of the buttocks. They are in any case regarded as decorative." Baskets were most often used to "hold captive animals such as possums" but Reay noted that they also occasionally just held odds and ends.

Marie Reay's notecards from her 1953-1955 fieldwork show that she found that women created the majority of woven fabrics, and made several varieties of cords "for use in netting work, rolling the fibres on their thighs." Cords were knotted "on a small lath" about 9 x 1 inches. Woven objects often had ritual uses as well. One woven bundle with shells and bone included in the exhibition was a charm, made by Awal, a young man of the Kugika Clan. The Tumil kon charm was a shoulder bag containing love magic, intended to attract girls. Marie Reay noted that "Bones, particularly jaw-bones, of small marsupials are worn as love-charms by men."

The photographs below include items Marie Reay collected and donated to the ANU School of Archaeology & Anthropology collections, as well as photographs of Marie Reay's many journeys in Papua New Guinea from her collection in the ANU Archives.