The Asmat of New Guinea: a case study in religion and magic

United States, 1983

Film
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Episode number 20 of Series “Faces of culture”.
Creation legends enable cultures to grasp the ungraspable. In the creation legends of the jungle tribe of the Asmat in south central New Guinea, the universe spilled from the decapitated body of a great spirit. Hence head-hunting and cannibalism became central to their religion, as did the appeasement of spirits who inhabited the trees. Rituals such as these gave the Asmat a sense of control over the unpredictable, but in the modern world, where cannibalism and vengeance is not allowed, their rituals cannot be properly completed, leaving a sense of anxiety, which finds its expression in tobacco addiction and social alienation.

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Credits

producer

Ira R. Abrams

director

Harry Ratner

production company

Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Coast Community College District

Duration

00:30:00:00

Production places
United States
Production dates
1983

Appears in

Faces of culture

Group of items

Faces of culture

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