Irian Jaya : Arts & Crafts


Asmat woodcarving is considered one among the world's finest. To the Asmat, woodcarving was inextricably connected with the spirit world, and therefore, the carving can not just be principally considered aesthetic objects. Much of the highly original art of the Asmat is symbolic of warfare, headhunting, and warrior-ancestor veneration. For centuries the Asmat were preoccupied with the necessity of appeasing ancestor spirits, producing a wealth of superbly designed shields, canoes, sculptured figures, and drums.

Particularly to call the still common stone axe, bone knifes as well as the grave stick to remove the hard skin from a Sago Tree and the wooden Sago hammer. For the decoration of the body we have to name the bones from the wings of a flying fox. The Korowai women place this in the nose. Also the necklace from dog´s tooth are really important for them. The mother give these necklaces to the daughter and this is still in use. The men use necklaces from pig´s tooth. The women use only a small skirt made from tree skin and Sago fibres. The men use only a leaf around the penis. Some groups have just the half of a nut around the penis. Around the chest you can see also some rotanings. Without their net the women never move out of the tree house. The men never move out without bow and arrows.


Please also note that at one of the villages visited in all the tours, the Dani Tribes will perform traditional ceremonies for you. The ceremonies are:

Dani Traditional Mocked War
A short Mocked War show which the story held in battle field between two clans, one group trying to defend their compound cluster from sneaking attack of their rival. If shows someone standing on top of a look out tower or "Kayo" watching over the enemies. The sudden shout of the watcher warning the whole warriors in the village to do defense and here the war begins. Until the both sides successfully have killed the victims and eventually they take a peaceful break and doing the victory dance called "Kayo Eatai" and afterward they celebrate the pig feast together held in one of the compounds. The Mocked War shows is the way of Dani warriors were used to be.

Traditional Earth Woven Cooking
In the first process the pig is shot right in the heart using bow and arrow and then pig hair burned off to get the clean skin. Next the dead pig lied on banana and sweet potato leaves ready to butcher. The internal organs taken out and cleans, heart and liver are seperated while the people heating the rocks for about 1 hour until they get ready removed into the cooking pit available. On the pit they fill the first layer with sedge grass or special Acacia leaves or "Pabika" in the local language to keep the heat remains and also to give more flavor to the cooking. The first food to put on this layer is sweet potatoes and covered again with second leaves layer for next sweet potatoes and so on until all sweet potatoes are in the pit. On top of those will be one layer filled with sweet potato leaves as also the best diet of the people. Finally on the very top they put the pig which is stretched with a reason to be well cooked until all the foods finally covered with sedge grass and tighten up with rattan rope. This cooking process take about 1 to 1,5 hours depends on the size and quantity of sweet potatoes inside.

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