Incredible images of a remote tribe known for practicing cannibalism have been captured by a photographer.

The Korowai people, who live in West Papua, Indonesia, were totally disconnected from the outside world until the 1970s, when a group of scientists met with one of them.

The photos show the tribes people living in trees and eating grubs. It’s even reported that they practice cannibalism, but it’s not certain whether they continue to do that now.

Some anthropologists write that deaths among the tribe are attributed to ‘khakhua’ or demons that take the human form. Those believed to be possessed by the ‘khakhua’ were eaten by the other tribe members.

This latest set of photos were captured by Italian photojournalist Gianluca Chiodini, 41, who spent days trekking through the forest to find the tribe in order to spend some time with them.

He said: “The Korowai live in the heart of the rainforest, where they’re not yet exposed to the modern world, so they still maintain many of their age-old traditions.

About the “First contact”

Korowai Tribe
Korowai Tribe

“The first documented contact with the outside world occurred with a group of scientists in March 1974. Until then, members of the Korowai tribe were totally unaware of anyone else on earth.

“I was a little bit scared about cannibalism if I’m honest. Certain sources suggest that the Korowai still practice ritual cannibalism to this day. Other anthropologists believe that practice has stopped, but only in this century.

“But some of my guides reckoned that there are still yet more people in the rainforest who haven’t been contacted – cannibalism may still yet be practiced.”

Korowai Tribe
Korowai Tribe

Natural evolution

However, when an anthropologist called Will Millard travelled there for a BBC doc released earlier this year called My Year With The Tribe, he found that some elements of their lifestyle had actually been set up for entertainment – such as the massive tree houses they’d been filmed building, which had been commissioned by film crews for the BBC’s 2011 series Human Planet.

Hoping to unearth what everyday life for the Korowai people was really like, Chiodini released a series of striking images depicting the mysterious tribe – as the western world creeps in and threatens its traditional life.

Korowai Tribe
Korowai woman carrying her child in a net, Western Papuasia, Indonesia. INCREDIBLE images have emerged from a 2000 expedition that captured the everyday lives of a tree-living, cannibalistic tribe who didnít know other people existed until the 1970s. The stunning pictures, which have only just come to light, show the Korowai people of West Papua in Indonesia building their treehouses, marching off to hunt and carrying their children in huge nets over their shoulders. Other striking shots show one tribesman with an enormous nose ring, mothers tending to their children near open fires and a traditional meal of sago larvae. The candid photographs were taken by photographer Eric Baccega as he visited the tribe. Eric Baccega / NPL /

There are also photos of Korowai hunters searching for food in the rainforest, the nets Korowai women use to carry their babies around and a group of Korowai men building a house on top of a 25m-high tree.

How do they get up there, you’re wondering? They just cut ladders into the trunks of the trees. Clearly, fear of heights is something that doesn’t bother them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here