ASMAT TRIBE TOUR - PAPUA
Thank you again for the wonderfull asmat trip we had with Jonas. We are waiting for your plan and your offer for our Stone Korowai
tribe trip and as you know it is very very urgent now. Longing
to hear from you. Regards, Jean-Gabriel
Asmat Tribe is
probably the most well known tribe in Papua (formerly called Irian
Jaya). They become famous not only through their head-hunting practices
in the past, but also because of their unique ideas and wonderful
designs in woodcarving. To reach them,
one need to fly to Timika (from Bali) and then by a smaller plane
to Ewer. . From Ewer, we need a boat tpo reach Agats, the site of
name most probably comes from the Asmat words As Akat, which according
to Asmat people means "the right man". Moreover, it's also said
that Asmat comes from the word Osamat that means "man from tree".
The Asmat's neighbors to the west, the Mimika, however, claim the
name is derived from their word for the tribe- "manue", meaning
Natives of the region are divided into
two main groups; those living along the coasts, and those in the
interior. They differ in dialect, way of life, social structure,
and ceremonies. The coastal rivers are further divided into two
groups, the Bisman people between the Sinesty and Nin Rivers, and
the Simai people.
Around 70,000 Asmat Tribe, the area's
largest tribe, are scattered in 100 villages in a territory of roughly
27,000 square km live in a huge tidal swamp land. The tribe was
untouched by civilization until recent times. Dutch outpost, missionary
settlements, and foreign expeditions finally made in road on this
isolated culture during the 1950 and 60's.
the families of the entire tribe resided together in houses up to
28 meters long called yeus. Yeus still used, but not only by men,
as clubhouse where bachelors sleep. Upriver Asmat Tribe still live
in longhouses, some even construct houses in treetops.
Tribe live on sago, their staple, as well as mussels, snails, and
fat insect larvae collected from decaying stumps of sago palms.
These last are eaten to the accompaniment of throbbing drums and
ritual dances; larvae feast can sometimes last up to two weeks.
The Asmat also gather forest products such as rattan, catch fish
and shrimp in large hoop nets.
ASMAT TRIBE - ART & FESTIVAL
Asmat Woodcarving Festival helds once a year, usually in October. To the Asmat
Tribe, woodcarving was inextricably connected with the spirit world,
and therefore, the carving cannot 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.
Asmat woodcarving is considered one among
the world's finest. Much of the highly original art of the Asmat
Tribe 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.
info about trip to Asmat
festival is dedicated to the development of Art and Culture for
the benefit of the locals. Being the main attraction is the carving
and attraction perfomed by several villages on the surrounding area
of Agats. The best statue of the festival will be placed at Asmat
Museum in Agats, while the rest of them are sold through the auction
on the festival site.
Almost the entire Asmat Tribe region is
covered in water during the rainy season, when high tide reaches
up to two km inland and low tide flows up to two km out to sea.
This is the largest alluvial swamp in the world, a low-lying stone
less territory of bog forest and meandering rivers emptying into
the Arafura sea.
FLORA & FAUNA
In the rivers
swarm with shrimp, fish, lobster, crab, fresh water dolphin, sea
snake and crocodiles. Living along the banks are lizards, that grow
longer than the Komodo dragon. The forests contain palms, ironwood,
merak wood, and mangroves, and are home for crown pigeons, hornbills,
and cockatoos. There are grass meadows, and flowers like the Dedrobium
The climate is hot and humid. The rainy
season stretches from October to May, with an average of 40 cm of
precipitation each year. The east monsoon season runs from April
to June, west monsoons strike December to March.