In 1974 Waikato Museum acquired a selection of items, including this head ornament, from Graham Jackson. Jackson was a New Zealand anthropologist who spent time living with and researching the Kopon and the Kalam people of the Lower Kaironk Valley in Papua New Guinea.
Jackson fieldnotes: Head ornament of cassowary feathers bound with two ply cord. Urayon: this term simply means cassowary. These are cassowary feather headdresses, worn by men for ceremonial dances. The headdresses are worn inverted on the head by small boys, about 2-3 years old (18 months – 3 years), during a special ceremony ("dressing up" ceremony which is the first initiation) held each year which precedes immediately the major annual ceremony, lasting 2-3 days, involving the seclusion of the boys in a hut from which women are banned. They listen to chanting which is intended to be a form of benediction for their growing up. During the last few hours of the ceremony they wear the headdresses, at the conclusion of which they parade around the hut.
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