May 26, 2015

1610 PAPUA NEW GUINEA (Milne Bay) - A man from Trobriand Islands

The Trobriand Islands are an archipelago of coral atolls off the eastern coast of New Guinea. Most of the population of 12,000 indigenous inhabitants live on the main island of Kiriwina. Other major islands in the group are Kaileuna, Vakuta and Kitava. The people of the area are mostly subsistence horticulturalists who live in traditional settlements. The social structure is based on matrilineal clans. People participate in the regional circuit of exchange of shells called kula, sailing to visit trade partners on seagoing canoes. When inter-group warfare was forbidden by colonial rulers, the islanders developed a unique, aggressive form of cricket.

Although an understanding of reproduction and modern medicine is widespread in Trobriand Society, their traditional beliefs have been remarkably resilient. The real cause of pregnancy is always a baloma (the spirit of the dead), who is inserted into or enters the body of a woman, and without whose existence a woman could not become pregnant; all babies are made or come into existence (ibubulisi) in Tuma. In the past, many held this traditional belief because the yam, a major food of the island, included chemicals whose effects are contraceptive, so the practical link between sex and pregnancy was not very evident.

At seven or eight years of age, Trobriand children begin to play erotic games with each other and imitate adult seductive attitudes. About four or five years later, they begin to pursue sexual partners. In the Trobriand Islands, there is no traditional marriage ceremony. In this society, it is taboo to eat in front of others. Once a man and a woman eat together, the marriage is officially recognized. The married couple eat together for about a year, and then go back to eating separately. If after one year, a woman is unhappy with her husband, she may divorce him.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Artifacts, issued on August 28, 2014:
• Lime pot, Trobriand Island (1.30 PGK)
• Bowl, Manus Island (5 PGK) - It's on the postcard
• Food bowl, Wogeo Island (6 PGK)
• Iviliko -pan pipes, Sepik Region (8 PGK)

The second stamp is part of the series Cuscus & Possums, issued in 2012:
Common spotted cuscus / Spilocuscus maculatus (1.20 PGK) - It's on the postcard
Common grey cuscus / Phalanger orientalis (1.20 PGK)
Black spotted cuscus / Spilocuscus rufoniger (6 PGK)
Woodlark cuscus / Phalanger lullulae (8 PGK)

Trobriand Islands - Wikipedia

Sender: ???
Sent from ??? (Papua New Guinea), on 01.04.2015

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