42. Yam Lining, Sarakim Village, 1967

The yam is much more than just a vegetable for the Abelam people. Its cultivation provides a mystical connection with Mother Earth, and its successful production is seen to maintain the physical and spiritual welfare of the clan. The pick of the crop are painted, dressed with woven masks, and displayed proudly in long rows where long discussions are held about which represent the harvest's best. Where yams are concerned, size does matter. The single straight yams are designated male, those with bifurcations, female.

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