chapter  II
The New Hebrideans 1
ByJohn R. Baker
Pages 28

I Doubt whether the reader would consider the natives of Sakau as handsome, or indeed as anything else than unmistakably ugly, by our standards; but any facial defects are atoned for by the perfection, in many cases, of the physique of the rest of their bodies. Luckily they do not hide their light beneath a bushel. (Figs. 4 and 5.) This is particularly so in the case of the women, for at first sight they appear absolutely naked. A fine thread passes round the hips, and to this is attached in front a strip of some monocotyledonous leaf, about ½ in. to I in. wide and 6 in. long, which passes between the legs and to some extent hides the external genitalia, though the mons veneris is only partly covered. It is held in position by the insides of the legs and does not protrude behind. A bunch of leaves hangs from the thread behind. The men are more elaborate in their attire. A leather belt passes round the hips, from which depends in front a strip of calico about a foot long by six inches wide, and behind a bunch of leaves (often crotons). This costume has replaced the old in the last quarter of a century, owing to the arrival of whites who 12exchange calico for native produce and labour. Formerly the men wore a most remarkable spindleshaped block of Casuarina wood over their buttocks, held in place by numerous beaded strings, with a strip of native-woven cloth in front. (Fig. 6.)