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Dossier Du corps à l’image. La réinvention des performances culturelles en Océanie

Ritual of Superiority: Tolai Tubuan Performance at the National Mask Festival in Papua New Guinea

Hirokuni Tateyama
p. 21-36

Abstracts

The National Mask Festival in Papua New Guinea is an annual event organized by the national government to preserve and promote the cultures associated with masked figures representing ancestral spirits that are found in many parts of the country. For the last 15 years, it has been held in Rabaul/Kokopo, home of the Tolai people, who are known as one of the nation’s most influential and affluent indigenous groups and well-known for their masked figures referred to generically as tubuan. This paper analyzes the Tolai performance of tubuan dances and rituals at the festival as a ritual, thereby examining its symbolic efficacy. It is shown that Tolai perform tubuan dances and rituals at the festival to demonstrate their superiority over other Papua New Guineans, and that they make their performance effective by using specific expressive strategies.

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Text / excerpt

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Outline

Indigenous Cultural Festivals in the Pacific
The Tolai and the Tubuan
The Intention of the Tubuan Performance at the Festival
The Efficacy of the Tubuan Performance at the Festival
Conclusion

Text / first lines

In the Pacific today, we find a number of indigenous cultural festivals regularly held at local, national, and international levels. In these events, which are commonly organized for the explicit purpose of preserving and promoting indigenous cultures and arts, individuals and groups perform dances, songs, or other organized sets of bodily acts considered as central to their own culture for outsiders as well as for themselves. In studying such festivals, anthropologists tend to concentrate on the meanings embodied in the content and structure of festival performances while neglecting the meanings constructed through the process of festival performances. This paper seeks to address this analytical limitation with reference to the National Mask Festival in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The National Mask Festival is an annual event inaugurated in 1995. It is one of many indigenous cultural festivals existing in PNG, but one of the few national festivals sponsored by the National Cultural Comm...

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References

Bibliographical reference

Hirokuni Tateyama, « Ritual of Superiority: Tolai Tubuan Performance at the National Mask Festival in Papua New Guinea », Le Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 142-143 | 2016, 21-36.

Electronic reference

Hirokuni Tateyama, « Ritual of Superiority: Tolai Tubuan Performance at the National Mask Festival in Papua New Guinea », Le Journal de la Société des Océanistes [Online], 142-143 | 2016, Online since 31 December 2018, connection on 23 May 2017. URL : http://jso.revues.org/7550 ; DOI : 10.4000/jso.7550

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About the author

Hirokuni Tateyama

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan, hirokuni@apu.ac.jp

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Copyright

© Tous droits réservés

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