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The Legend Of Asaro Mudmen

In the Eastern Highlands in Papua New Guinea lies the Asaro Mudmen, a people known for their strange masks made with clay, and pigs’ teeth. The Asaros are not called Mudmen for a light reason.

Legend has it that a man who wanted to attend a wedding ceremony four generations ago did not have suitable clothes. He bore two holes in a string bag, covered it with mud and applied mud on his skin. When he wore it to the wedding, the guests fled the party. Their reaction made him realise it could be used to wade off their longtime enemy. Expectedly, their enemies ran for their dear lives. As time went on, they incorporated fingers made with bamboo to have the overall ghostly effect. This new strategy proved successful in different attacks until it was copied by neighbouring villages.


Another legend has it that they were caught in the middle of a war which saw a lot of Asaro men injured. The Asaro men decided to hide in the muddy banks of the Asaro River. Little did they know that their bodies had turned white from the mud. When did stood up to flee in the night, they were surprised to see that their enemies were running away believing them to be ghosts. They soon learned that this tactic waded off their enemies and made masks and nails to go with it.

Today, it is celebrated as a tradition at the Paupau New Guinea. Unlike their masks, Asaro Mudmen are a nice set who are willing to share what has become a culture with other people.

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