DANI WOMAN SHOWING
One of the most extraordinary burial/mutilation rituals in the world dates to the recent past in western New Guinea. The practice involved the amputation of a finger when a close family member died. One report describes the amputation as being performed by a man who was a specialist in the procedure. The selected finger was tied between the second and third joint. Then the elbow was struck with a hard stick to help deaden the nerves in part of the hand. The operator extends the finger on a board. Then removes it up to the second joint with a small transverse (straight edged) stone adze. The wound is then dressed with a mixture of clay and ashes. The severed finger is burned in the dying ashes of the funeral fire. The procedure is now prohibited but many Dani women still display their missing fingers to curious tourists, like the woman in this picture.