Inside the isolated Indonesian Dani tribe where women are expected to amputate a finger when relatives die and the men have some rather eye-catching outfits!
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Deep in the highlands of Western New Guinea, Indonesia, lives one of the world’s most isolated tribes.
One of their customs is the wearing of an unusual piece of underwear – the Koteka – worn by males which is commonly referred to as a pen!s sheath and women in the tribe have been known to cut off the end of their own fingers to mark the loss of a relative.
As well as their quite liberal view towards clothing, the tribe are also well known for their unique practice of self mutilation.
After the passing of a loved one, relatives are expected to cut off the top part of their fingers as a sign of respect and grieving.
The practice is meant to symbolise the pain one feels after losing a loved one with many people in the tribe often amputating multiple fingers during their lifetime.
Photographer and IT support engineer Teh Han Lin from neighbouring Singapore snapped the tribe over a four day period.
He said: ‘The Dani tribe is a very unique tribe, especially their way of life and their traditional wearing of a ‘Koteka’ that I’ve heard about since I was young. I never know when this tribe will be extinct, this is the reason I decided to visit them this year.’
Known as the Dani people, the tribe was unwittingly discovered by American philanthropist, Richard Archbold, after an expedition in 1938.
Since the mid twentieth century the Dani tribe have become well known for their unique customs and strong sense of identity as they cling to their traditional ways.
Teh Han said: ‘Only women have to cut off their fingers. I feel it’s a cruel and inhumane practice, but to them this is the only way to show the grievousness to the loved ones and they are willing to do it.’
Fortunately the act has been outlawed by the Indonesian government, however signs of this archaic tradition can be found on older women in the tribe.
Despite their controversial customs, the Dani tribe have been drawing tourists to the region for decades as more and more people are eager to see their relatively simple way of life.