Mummification was a very important element of the Papuan culture, the preserved body of a village’s big man, an elder, chief or a great warrior was regarded as a link with ancestors. The process involved hanging the corpse in a specially build house over a fire, and smoking it continuously for up to a year. Indonesians regarded the tradition as barbaric, prohibited the procedure, confiscated and destroyed most of the mummies in the area. This is one of three survivors in the Baliem valley.
Photo: a real smoked Papuan 300 years old mummy.
Smoke and glow (embers) added digitally.
Baliem valley, 15 km from Wamena, Irian Jaya (Indonesian Papua).