South of the Jayawijaya mountain range of Papua, Indonesia, lies a large area of lowland. The area accommodates a myriad of rivers, forming swamps, wetlands and mangrove forests. It’s home to the Korowai, an indigenous culture who as late as the 1970s believed  that they were the only humans on earth.

“If the hand does nothing, the mouth does not chew”

The Korowai are one of the few Papuan indigenous peoples that do not wear the Koteka, a penis gourd. Instead, the men ‘hide’ their penises in their scrotums, around which a leaf is then tightly tied. They are hunter-gatherers, living in tree houses. They adhere to strict separatism between men and women.

Mabul Village, Dekai region, Southern Papua
Indonesia + Papua New GuineaGo to journey ›

"We were often met with a great deal of scepticism about out intentions."

- Jimmy Nelson

Mabul Village, Dekai region, Southern Papua

August 2010

Both Dani and Yali build round or oval huts made out of straw and wood, with thick thatched roofs. Dani and Yali men, women and children sleep
separately in different huts (honai). While the Korowai live in tree houses, they also adhere to strict separatism between men and women.