"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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Journal of Matthew Stirling
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May 21, 1926 : Albatross Camp (Base Camp) ; Mamberamo River

May 21st

We received a radio from the Albatross that she will not arrive until tomorrow with the rest of our supplies. Today the Dyaks carved a huge image {*} about 12 feet high made from a forked tree representing a bi-sexual god for scaring {p. 81} away the spirits that cause illness. It is set up on the river bank directly in front of our house where it makes an imposing if somewhat indecent appearance. Another image of a hornbill in flight, very well made, was carved by the Dyaks and hung over our dining table. "The Americans are the only ones who fly so it is for them[,]" says Ipoei. The body, head and tail are carved from wood and colored red and black. The wings are cut from the side of a kerosine tin. The radio men, our next door neighbors, are busying themselves in making a flower garden around their shack. They have collected a number of flowering plants in the jungle and fenced them in. It won't be long before the camp has a fairly settled down appearance.

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