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Papuan

race, hair, islands, guinea, head, negro, tribes and occupied

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PAPUAN, a Negroid race occupying New Guinea and its neighbouring islands in the Eastern Archi pelago, and extending from New Guinea eastward through the Louisiade and Solomon 'Archipelagos to the New Hebrides, where it co-exists with some tribes of Malaya-Polynesians, and still farther to the Fiji Islands, which are the extreme limit of the race in an eastern direction.

In a direction north-west from New Guinea, a Papuan race extends through the Moluccas and the Philippines, but in these islands they only appear in small and scattered tribes, occupants of the mountain fastnesses.

The small islands which extend from New Guinea to ,Timor, with the exception of the Aru Islands, are occupied by Malaya-Polynesians of the most decided. character ; but at Timor, especially near the north-east end, a race evidently of Papuan origin again appears, but never, so far as Mr. Earl had been able to ascertain after a strict inquiry, in an absolutely pure state. These tribes were much oppressed by the Malaya-Polynesians who occupy the table-land of the interior ; and the slaves which were brought down to the settlements on the coast, and were formerly exported to Macao and other places, were chiefly of this Papuan race.

Some tribes on the great island of Flores or Mangarai assume a more decided Papuan cha racter, and there is said to be also a tribe of this race in the neighbourhood of the Timboro mountain on Sumbawa ; but beyond this they disappear, and a Negro race is not encountered again until we meet them on the Malay Penin sula under the name of Semang, occupying some mountain tracts in the states of Kidah, Perah, and Kalantan. Farther west, the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal are occupied people of most decided Negro character.

The Malayan term for crisped or woolly hair is rambut pua-pua.' Hence the term `pua-pua' or papua (crisped) has come to be applied to this Negro race, and expresses their most striking peculiarity. With the the Andamans, the Semang of the Malay Peninsula, the Alfoer and Negrito of the Philippines,' they have been named Oriental Negroes, to distinguish them from the Negro race of Africa.

They were called by Mr. Muller, Mairassie, and by Lieutenant Modera, Alfoeren or Alfoer. Mars den adopted the term Negrito,' or little Nearo,' from the Spaniards of the Philippines, and applied itit to the entire race.

The term tanna papua,' or land of the crisp haired,' is applied by the brown-coloured races not only to New Guinea, but to all the adjacent islands, which are occupied exclusively by the Papuan race. Their frizzled or woolly hair does

not spread over the surface of the head, as is usual with the Negroes of Western Africa, but grows in small tufts, the hairs which form each tuft keeping separate from the rest, and twisting round each other, until, if allowed to grow, they form a spiral ringlet. Many of the tribes, especially those who occupy the interior parts of islands whose coasts are occupied by more civilised races, from whom cutting instruments can be obtained, keep the hair closely cropped. The tufts then assume the forms of little knobs about the size of a pea giving the head a very singular appearance, which has, not inaptly, been compared with that of an old worn-out shoe-brush. Others again, more especially the natives of the south of New Guinea and the islands of Torres Strait, troubled with such an obstinate description of hair, yet admiring the ringlets as a head-dress, cut them off, and twist them into skull-caps made of matting, thus forming very compact wigs.

But it is among the natives of the north coast of New Guinea, and some of the adjacent islands of the Pacific, that the hair receives the greatest attention. These open out the ringlets by means of a bamboo comb, shaped like an eel-spear, with numerous prongs spreading out laterally, which operation produces an enormous bushy head of hair, which has procured them the name of mop headed Papuans.' Among the natives of the Fiji Islands (the easternmost limit of the Oriental '1 Negro race), the operation of dressing the hair occupies the greater part of a day. The hair of 1 the beard and whiskers, which generally grows very thick and bushy, is arranged in little tufts similar to those of the head, and the same pecu liarity is found to exist in the hair with which the breasts and shoulders of the men are often covered, but the tufts are here farther apart than on the head and chin. This woolly or twisted hair is peculiar to the full-blooded Papuans. A com paratively slight mixture with the brown-com plexioned or Malaya-Polynesian race appears to destroy the peculiarity. The hair of people of the mixed race covers the surface of the head. It is therefore very easy to distinguish the pure Papuans.

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