Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1961 Asmat tesumajipic
Subjecttesumajipic warrior
Culture: Asmat
Setting: tribal warfare, Casuarina Coast 20thc
Object: nosepieces


* Henner Huber 2009 p86 (Molly Henner Huber, "Plates" p35-122)
"The bipane is the signature body ornament of the Asmat.  Painstakingly carved of shell and worn primarily by men, this distinctive rounded object relates symbolically to success in the hunt.  Each half is curved to represent the tusks of a boar or the tail of a cuscus -- animals the Asmat prey upon -- and the halves are sealed together with beeswax, sometimes over string or copper wire.  The device is affixed to the nose through a hole pierced in the septum and hangs down around the mouth, simulating the look of tusks.  Formerly common throughout Asmat, this accessory appears often in other art forms as a shorthand reference to the men who wear it."

 * Smidt ed. 1993 p71 (Dirk AM Smidt, "Woodcarving art: Style regions and motifs" p52-69)
"[T]he bipanew ... shell nose ornament ... is an important head-hunting symbol."

* Borel & Taylor 1994 p211
"Bipaneu carved in the shape of boars tusks were worn only on important ceremonial occasions."

* Eyde 1967 p24
"Two thin, curved pieces of mother-of-pearl are ... fastened together to form one of the most typical of Asmat ornaments, the shell nose-piece, mi panew.  This is worn through a hole pierced through the septum.  The effect resembles pig tusks.  This is my simile; Asmat informants agreed with it.  Such decorations are worn by men on ceremonial occasions or simply as a matter of personal grooming."

* Chenevière 1987 p102-3
 "[T]he bipane [is] cut from a large white shell in the shape of boar tusks.  The bipane is a symbol of valor and strength, both of which virtues the bearer acquires by inserting it in the nasal membrane that is pierced at puberty."


* Chenevre 1987 p104
"The most prestigious nasal ornament is the otsj, carved from a pig bone -- and sometimes from a human one, which enhances its value."

* Borel & Taylor 1994 p212
"Before they can wear an otsj, young initiated males must undergo a painful procedure to pierce the nasal septum."