Gemtasu is getting mummified

PhotographerUlla Lohmann
Prize1st Place in Event / Traditions and Cultures
Entry Description

Tribal Elder Gemtasu from Papua New Guinea believes that traditional mummification gives eternal life. To him, being mummified means that he will be able to forever protect his living loved ones from evil spirits. Gemtasu is the last one to think like this, the young people live a modern life. They have no connection to this ancient tradition, which has died out in the 50ies. Gemtasu himself has mummified his father, which was the last know mummification. He had to teach his children how to mummify with the help of pigs. When Gemtasu passed away peacefully, his family has fulfilled his last wish. They all work together for 4 month to dry his body above a constantly burning fire and they frequently eliminate the body fluids by stroking Gemtasu's body. They sit together as a family around the fire and talk- as if Gemtasu would still be there. And he is.