Indonesia is a rich country with natures and tribes. One of the tribes in Papua Island – Indonesia, is Asmat. The Asmat Tribe is one of the largest tribes in Papua. This tribe has been known to foreign countries. The distribution area of the Asmat Tribe starts from the coast area of Arafuru Sea to the Jayawijaya Mountains.
“Asmat” is a name that is thought to come from the phrase As Akat, words that to Asmat mean “the right man”.
Others say that the name is derived from Osamat, a word that means “man from a tree”.
The mythological of the Asmat Tribe
In ancient times, the God named Fumeripitsy came down to earth. He explored the earth and began his adventure from the western horizon of the setting sun.
In his adventure, the God must face a giant crocodile and managed to defeat him. Even though he won, the God was badly injured and stranded on a riverbank.
While enduring the pain the God tried to survive and he met a flamingo bird.
The flamingo took care of him until he recovered from his wound. After recovering, the God lived in the area and made a house and carved two very beautiful statues.
Then, Fumeripitsy made a very loud drum to accompany him to dance without stopping. The deity’s movements were so powerful that can make the two statues he carved come to life. Not long after, the two statues joined in dancing and moved together to follow the God. The two statues are the first human pair to become the ancestors of the Asmat Tribe.
The mythological fragment above is a belief held by This myth makes the Asmat Tribe still believe that they are the incarnations of Gods to this day. It’s not an exaggeration, because Asmat does have a very respected culture.
The life of the Asmat tribe
There are many researchers from all over the world who often visit the Asmat tribe village. They are generally interested in learning about the life of the Asmat tribe, their belief system, and the unique customs of the Asmat tribe as well.
The Asmat Tribe itself is divided into two:
- The tribe who lives on the coast
For their livelihoods, the Asmat tribe prefers to be fishermen.
- The Asmat who live on the hinterland.
For their livelihoods, the Asmat tribe have jobs as hunters and garden farmers.
The characteristics of the Asmat Tribe
The Asmat Tribe has an average height of about 172 cm for men and 162 cm for women. Their skin is generally black with curly hair. This physical characteristic is due to the fact that the Asmat Tribe is still a descendant of Polynesians.
The traditions of the Asmat tribe
The Asmat tribe are known as reliable carvers and are recognized internationally. Asmat carvings are made in many types and varied. However, usually, the carvings tell about something, such as stories of ancestors, daily life, and their love for nature. The uniqueness of the carvings is what makes the name of Asmat Tribe so global today.
The Asmat Tribe has a lot of dance and singing arts that will perform when welcoming guests, during the harvest period and when honoring the spirits of the ancestors.
They really respect their ancestors. The Asmat has an extraordinary culture and deserves to be the main object that should be studied further when visiting Papua.
The Asmat Tribe once practiced head-hunting – a piece of culture and tradition that is now diminished in the modern world.
Visiting the Asmat Tribe
To see the treasure trove of culture that is found in Papua, you’ll have to charter an Indonesian Yacht.
When visiting the Asmat Tribe to witness and immerse in their culture and impressive woodcarving, you must first fly to Jakarta or Bali. From there, you must take a domestic flight to the local airport of Timika.
Once landed in Timika, continue your journey by smaller plane to the place of Ewer. Finally, in Ewer, you will need to charter a boat to the town of Agats.
Agats is both the gateway and the administrative center to the Asmat Regency, and a Raja Ampat yacht charter may be the best choice for you to find your way there.