Jan Verschueren’s description of Yei-Nan culture

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Joannis Cornelis Verschueren (1905-1970) worked as a Roman Catholic missionary in southern Irian from 1931 until 1970. In the 1950s he wrote a number of papers on the Yéi. These papers, based on older field notes and a research trip through the area, are recapitulated in this volume. Verschueren provides genuine inside information and his data are new and authentic. The four papers in this volume create a picture of a typical lowland culture with a surprising emphasis on headhunting, an uncommon way of segregating the sexes, and a highly elaborated system of phallic symbolism. Topics discussed in this volume are territorial, clan and moiety organization; kinship, marriage and conjugal life; the founding myths of Yéi-nan ritual and other rituals; initiation; sickness and healing; death, burial and mortuary feasts; other ceremonies.

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