Men’s Ceremonial House in Papua New Guinea
By: Megan Gebke
For our global history class, we had to pick a type of non-western architecture to research. I chose the men’s ceremonial houses in Papua New Guinea. They are made from the local materials and by all the local men. Men are only allowed in the structure and if women shall enter they will be punished by the tribe and by the spiritual clans. The following paragraph explains my personal analysis from my research.
Researching this topic provided me with a complete culture shock. The building design is so eloquent and beautiful, but also so raw at the same time. The traditional architecture of the ceremonial houses was just brilliant. The people used the materials that were available to them, created a group of helpers, and designed an enormous structure filled with mythological cravings. All of those aspects of the architecture blew me away. One quality I enjoyed learning about these people was the close knit community. The most shocking part was reading about the culture. I cannot imagine living in a community where men and women were so separated with so many rules and regulations to follow. In America, people are just flat out curious creatures and being a curious woman near the Sepik River can get you killed. With all the feminine movements that have happened in the Western culture, it would be hard to live in a community where you were not allowed to be in certain places. It is so sad to see that the traditional architecture is slowly becoming a thing of the past. New materials are becoming easily available and cheaper to build with even though the structures do not last as long. Reading some of the myths was another thing that shocked me. I could not believe some of those stories and to think that the people of the Sepik River follow them almost religiously. This paper was a huge eye-opener for me. It made me realize that the world extrudes past the boundaries of the United States.