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.
The smoking process doesn’t protect from rodents though – you can see the teeth-marks all over the hands of the mummy.
Baliem valley, 15 km from Wamena, Irian Jaya (Indonesian Papua).