OLAC Record

Title:Yam ‘Fire’
Access Rights:Open (subject to agreeing to PDSC access conditions)
Bibliographic Citation:Darja Hoenigman (collector), Bapra Mari (performer), 2018. Yam ‘Fire’. TIFF/JPEG/MP4/MXF. DKH01-063_yam at catalog.paradisec.org.au. https://dx.doi.org/10.26278/SMV3-4Q19
Contributor (compiler):Darja Hoenigman
Contributor (performer):Bapra Mari
Coverage (Box):northlimit=-4.16134; southlimit=-5.27824; westlimit=143.02; eastlimit=144.191
Date (W3CDTF):2018-08-18
Date Created (W3CDTF):2018-08-18
Description:Up until recent times, the Awiakay used to make fire by pulling a string under a piece of wood. While they got the first matches and firelighters from Australian patrol officers, and later brought them back from town themselves, their trips to town were not so frequent that everyone could have their own. While lighters are much more easily obtainable these days, it still happens that one does not have a lighter (or it may have been lost, the fuel may have been used up, the flint may have fallen out…), and when not in the village where one can easily borrow fire from someone else, people still make it in a traditional way. Fire being of such great importance to man, both in a practical way and ritually, it is understandable that it features in several myths. The origin of fire is explained in the Awiakay Myth of Origin. At the time of creation, Puŋgim, the creation spirit, taught some people how to make fire, and sent them away, but the Awiakay and others who stayed closer to the place of creation, did not get this knowledge. They would dry their kill in the sun and eat raw meat. But when they were on a mountain, they saw tongues of flame from afar, and one man decided to go and get fire from the yamkopa ‘firehead’ (a person who has the knowledge of making fire) in Imanmeri, which was at the time an enemy place. But the Imanmeri did not kill him, and their yamkopa taught him how to make fire by pulling a string under the right kind of wood, and how to get it going with dry fibres of a coconut shell. But at the time there was no smoke yet. The yamkopa taught him many other things, and even gave him a stone axe to take back to his place, but just before he came back home, his joking partner jumped from behind a tree to scare him, and the fire the man was carrying fell into the river. Smoke rose, and this was how smoke came into being. The Imanmeri regretted not having killed the man who now threw their gifts into the river. But when he returned to the village, he made fire in the way the Imanmeri yamkopa taught him: he cut a stick for making fire, collected dry coconut fibres, pulled the string, and the fire started. At the same time, smoke rose (Hoenigman 2007: 274–302). Another myth tells about how snakes taught a man how to make fire under his armpits (some varieties of this myth talk about lightning). Two exchange partners went into the bush to get a little hornbill from its nest on a tall ironwood. One of them climbed the tree, killed its mother and threw it down, then reached the baby hornbill. When he threw the baby down, his partner cut off the rope, so that the man on the tree didn’t have a way to come back down. He had sex with his exchange partner’s wife, then took the hornbill and left for the village where he and his partner’s wife ate it together. The man in the tree had no way of coming down, but survived for a long time by eating his armbands, the leaves that covered his backside (TP astanget), and even his own hair. Eventually he was saved by snakes who gave him real food as well as the power to make fire come out of his armpits. He went back to the village and saw his wife sleeping with his exchange partner. He lifted his arm and the fire came out and burnt them both (Hoenigman 2004: M004). Yet another myth touches upon one of the male initiation practices involving fire, talking about ‘flying foxes’ whose wings need to be burnt before they can fly (Hoenigman 2004: M035). This string figure is often made after kamao ‘a bandicoot’, the string figure-maker saying that now they need to make fire to cook the bandicoot on it. However, technically the string figure is not connected to the previous one, the maker releases the strings and starts anew to make ‘fire’. When the final design emerges, the maker says: “I’m blowing onto it now”, and starts blowing onto the ‘fire’, as people do all the time to keep their fires going. Images: 02: Darja Munbaŋgoapik demonstrating blowing into yam ‘fire’ Hoenigman, Darja. 2004. Awiakay book of myths. Fieldnotes: transcripts. Unpublished manuscript. Hoenigman, Darja. 2007. Language and Myth in Kanjimei, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. MA thesis, Ljubljana: Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Ljubljana Graduate School of the Humanities. . Language as given: Awiakay
Format:Digitised: no
Identifier (URI):http://catalog.paradisec.org.au/repository/DKH01/063_yam
Language:Tok Pisin
Language (ISO639):tpi
Rights:Open (subject to agreeing to PDSC access conditions)
Subject (OLAC):language_documentation
Table Of Contents (URI):http://catalog.paradisec.org.au/repository/DKH01/063_yam/DKH01-063_yam-01.tif


Archive:  Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC)
Description:  http://www.language-archives.org/archive/paradisec.org.au
GetRecord:  OAI-PMH request for OLAC format
GetRecord:  Pre-generated XML file

OAI Info

OaiIdentifier:  oai:paradisec.org.au:DKH01-063_yam
DateStamp:  2022-06-22
GetRecord:  OAI-PMH request for simple DC format

Search Info

Citation: Darja Hoenigman (compiler); Bapra Mari (performer). 2018. Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC).
Terms: area_Pacific country_PG iso639_tpi olac_language_documentation

Up-to-date as of: Tue Nov 8 11:52:54 EST 2022