CW: male genitalia
Traditional forms of nalbinding are used for a wide variety of purposes around the world. One area with a strong continuous tradition of nalbinding is the highlands of Papua New Guinea and West Papua, Indonesia. While one is most likely to be familiar with the Bilums from the region, another usage of nalbinding is found covering some Koteka.
A Koteka is a traditional penis sheath worn by some ethnic groups of Papua; mainly in the highlands. One may also see the koteka referred to as a horim. While often made of a particular gourd, the ones of most interest to this blog are the ones that have an outer layer of nalbound textile.
I have not yet had the opportunity to travel to Papua to see the amazing amount and variety of nalbinding that their traditions have and continue to produce. I do hope to make it to their annual Bilum Festival and Gala someday. And yet, Papuan nalbinding has been collected by colonizers and purchased by modern tourists for centuries and thus found its way into some of the most unexpected places. So much so, that when I once again find nalbinding where I didn’t expect it, I’m not surprised to often find that the example in question is Papuan.
On my most recent trip to Iceland, where I was honored to be able to examine the mitten from Arneiðarstaðir in Iceland, I also took the opportunity to go to several other museums. I picked up a new nalbinding needle at the Saga Museum. But having entirely forgotten about nalbound koteka covers, I was rather pleased and surprised to find nalbinding in The Icelandic Phallological Museum. Probably the last place I expected to find nalbinding. Even more so than finding nalbinding in a Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
“Penis Sheath From The Forests Of New Guinea” https://www.ripleys.com/weird-news/penis-sheath/
The Festive Koteka in The Icelandic Phallological Museum uses both the Simple Looping variant (often called Blanket or Buttonhole Stitch) and a spaced and staggered Cross-Knit Looping variant. The Danai tribe Koteka shown in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! video has the Simple Looping variant on the sheath itself and what looks like a compound variant (undetermined) in the strap.