Bongu. Papuan people living in Papua New Guinea (Madang province, Rai Coast district). Population is about 3 000 people. Speak bongu language of the Trans-New Guinean language phylum. Tok Pisin and English are also spoken. Protestantism and Catholicism believers; remnants of traditional beliefs persist.

N. Miklouho-Maclay was the first European to come into contact with bongu (1871). During his three expeditions to the Maclay Coast (1871 – 1872, 1876 – 1877, 1883), the Russian scientist very thoroughly studied many aspects of bongu traditional culture not influenced by the Western world by that time. The main food source is tropical agriculture and fishing. Main crops: taro, yams, sweet potato, coconut palm, sugar cane, bread tree, bananas, papaya. Livestock: pigs, dogs, chickens. Currently pigs are not kept. Hunting (for wild pigs, cassowaries, tree kangaroos, etc.) is of secondary importance. Inheritance is patrilineal. Socially, the village was divided into patrilineal clans (vemuns). The leading role belonged to the bigmen (naturally evolved leaders, endowed with high organizational, magical and other abilities). Traditional weapons: spear, bow and arrows, bamboo knife. Ornaments of feathers, seashells, pig tusks, dog fangs are used. Scarification practice (making scars on skin) took place. Water vehicles are represented by dugout boats with outriggers. Traditionally they drink kawa (kaewu) and chew a mixture of betel. Song and music folklore is unique and original. Musical instruments: signal gong (barum), hourglass-shaped hand drum (okam), signal seashell, bamboo flute and other. Veneration of the dead and magic are the features of the traditional religious beliefs.


literature source:

N. Miklouho-Maclay Collected works in six volumes

Moscow, 1990 – 1999

On the Maclay Coast. Ethnographic essays.

Editorial board: S. A. Tokarev (executive editor), N. A. Butinov, D. D. Tumarkin

Moscow, 1975