As evening falls, torches are lit in the aa. When word is received that the Gisaro dancers are ready, the Ilib Kuwo, who have been dancing with drums in the aa all afternoon, cease and dismantle their costumes. With the end of their constant drumming, an awkward, restless quiet pervades the aa. By now the interior is crowded with people (aa bisc and those miycwc not in the performance). Five to twelve young men holding torches stand about in the central hall. They do not participate much in the actual burning of the dancers but supply the torches to older men and women who do. Older men stand or sit by the sidelines along the row of houseposts on either side, eating bananas and conversing, their painted faces, feather headdresses, and shell ornaments reflecting the firelight. Behind them, women sit crowded together on the sleeping platforms, while further back in the recessed darkness other young men perch on the partition to the women’s section.


Sago Palm Banana Stem Shell Ornament Central Hall Conventional Metaphor 
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© Edward L. Schieffelin 2005

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  • Edward L. Schieffelin

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