The Asaro • Mud Men
The Asaro, also known as "Mud Men", live outside the village of Goroka, Eastern Highlands of Papua, New Guinea.
Their unusual way of dress and expression is very unique and unusual at the same time!
This look comes from decades ago, where legend has it that after the Asaro were defeated by an 'enemy tribe,' they fled and attempted to escape. They hid in the Asaro River. After a while, they came out but the enemy tribe was still there.
The Asaro were covered in mud and the enemy tribe thought they were spirits, so they fled in fear! Allowing the Asaro to escape successfully.
Another legend says that the way of dress comes from years back, when a man was going for a wedding, where everyone wore costumes. So he took an old bilum (string bag), made holes for eyes and dipped himself in mu. The guests thought he was a ghost and fled the wedding! This gave the man an idea, to use the costume to allow his people defeat their enemy tribes.
In addition to their elaborate costume, the Mud Men cover their faces with masks and not mud, as they believe that the mud from the Asaro River is poisonous. These masks are made from heated pebbles and water and are designed with pigs teeth, horns, uni brows and other exaggerated features!
Visit the Asaro "Mud Men," on a tour at MT Gurupoka Guest House, with asaromudmen.com and enjoy activities such as;
- Village-life tours- experience the everyday life of the Asaro Tribe
- Visit to the local sites of World War II
- Swimming in the Asaro River- Do not worry! It is not poisonous! Contrary to what the Asaro believe
- Traditional dance performances
- Forest walks and
- Mask making with some actual "Mud Men!" Make a miniature mask of your very own!