Stunning Snapshots Reveal Enduring Tradition’s Of Isolated Indonesian Tribe
Spectacular snapshots have given a rare glimpse into the lives of one of the world’s most isolated tribes.
The ultra-remote Dani tribe, from Indonesia’s Baliem Valley in the Highlands of West Papau, can be seen performing traditional war dances at their week-long ‘cultural festival’.
The tribesmen performed the dances sporting a striking item of clothing known as a Koteka, or ‘penis sheath’, while the women were seen cooking wild pigs on an open flame.
Photographer Hariandi Hafid, 30, opened a window last week into the yearly festival and violent customs of the tribe, who were only discovered by chance in 1938.
Hariandi, from Makassar, said: “This festival is about carrying out sacred rituals that to honor their ancestors.”
“The dances are inspired by wars that took place in the past, and occasionally still happen among Dani tribes.”
“What’s most striking is the way they dress, there are still many who still use Koteka in their daily lives.”
The Dani tribe was accidentally discovered by American philanthropist, Richard Archbold, during an expedition in 1938.
They are also known for a violent practice whereby the tribeswomen cut off the end of their own fingers to mark the loss of a relative.
Though the act has been condemned by the Indonesian government, Hariandi found evidence it lives on among some of the older women in the tribe.
The festival also contains customary dancing and music of Papua, rattan spear throwing, earth cooking and the celebratory roast pig feast.
Hariandi said: “Some of the traditions are getting less common, like the finger cutting, which is being influenced by the growth of foreign
“But the Koteka is still very common. Aside from clothing, it is a marker of social status and even a symbol of resistance.”
“I was quite amazed at how well they retained their ancestral heritage.”