Life of The Asmat Tribe in Papua

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Asmat Tribe

Indonesia has a diversity of different ethnic groups from other regions. This makes Indonesia a wealthy country with culture and tradition. One of the areas with many tribes in West Papua. You must have heard the name of Asmat. Asmat is one of the largest tribes in Papua. The Asmat Tribe is infamous for being a cannibalistic tribe, traditionally living naked in trees and cutting off people’s heads as a ritual. This ethnic tribe’s distribution area starts from the coast area of the Arafura Sea to the Jayawijaya.

The uniqueness of the Asmat Tribe

This ethnic group itself is divided into two groups: the tribe who lives in the hinterland and who live on the coast. Their lifestyle, social structure, the daily life of these two Asmat are different. The Asmat who live in village areas usually have jobs as garden farmers or hunters. Then, the Asmat, who are on the coast prefer to be fishermen. Although the local people have many differences, they both have the same physical characteristics. The Asmat has an average height of about 162 cm for women and 172 cm for men. Physically they are dark-skinned with exotic curly hair.

Asmat Tribe traditional food

Asmat people have unique main food, which is sago. Almost every day, Asmat people eat sago. Sago tastes a little salty and has a soft, chewy texture. It is also healthy and contains higher protein than eggs. Sago is usually processed into such dots and baked in the coals. Another hobby of the locals is eating sago worms. The foods are typically wrapped in palm leaves and sprinkled with sago. Besides, fish, pork, and vegetables will be a compliment.

Asmat crafts

The Asmat tribe is famous for their skill in craft and art. There are many shapes that the local people make in wood carvings, such as shields, tree bark paintings, and statues. In every carving of their crafts, they put spiritual value and honor to their ancestors. The uniqueness of the carvings is what makes this tribe so global today. Additionally, they celebrate the wood carving tradition every year with a cultural festival. The cultural festival aims together all the small villages for an exhibition. 

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House of Bujang

Asmat people have two types of houses, namely bujang house and family house. Bujang house is an essential part of this tribe. This house is a center of activity, both religious and non-religious. But this traditional house can only be occupied by unmarried men.

The Asmat dance

Smart people have many traditional dances and songs. They dance with music when welcoming a guest who visits this village. Asmat has a culture that can become the main object when you visit West Papua.