Introduced Tribes in Papua Using Austronesian Tattoo

Austronesian tattoos

Three tribes in Papua have a tradition for making Austronesian tattoo, namely the Sentani, Moi, and Waropen tribes.

Men and women commonly use body ornaments for these three tribes are permanent tattoos on the face and some parts of the body (hands and feet).

Three Tribes in Papua Using Austronesian Tattoo

Austronesian tattoo is one of the cultures on the north coast of Papua, which was introduced by Austronesian people from Asia when they migrated to the Papua region 3,000 years ago.

Papua has many unique rituals known to grow and develop in its people. One of them is a tattoo. The following are three tribes in Papua who have also studied Austronesian Tattoos:

1. The Sentani Tribe

The traditional tattoos of the Sentani Tribe commonly called enahu by residents, are starting to be forgotten.

Knowledge of one of the traditions of the indigenous people of the Sentani tribe is only limited to older adults, while the younger generation is gone.

The material for making enahu (tattoo) is charcoal from burning wam wood mixed with breadfruit tree sap.

Then the sago spines or fish bones are dipped into the liquid and charcoal. Then they are stabbed into the chest, cheeks, eyelids, calves, hips, and back of the body.

Usually, tattoos are made three months before the wedding ceremony is held. The motif of tattoo for Sentani women are images of and birds of paradise, eels, and nine fish.

The function of the tattoo is to beautify the face of the bride, and the symbol of the bird of heaven is a woman who is the source of life.

2. The Moi Tribe

Tattoos on the Moi Tribe are currently only used by the older generation of the tribe in Sorong Regency, West Papua.

They still apply tattoos on their bodies, while the younger generation doesn’t apply tattoos anymore.

The Moi tribe is an indigenous tribe living in Sorong Regency and the Sorong Regency area is known as the customary law area of the Moi Tribe.

Tattoos for the Moi Tribe are body ornaments, and the material for the tattoos is fine charcoal produced from burning wood mixed with langsat tree sap.

Then, thorns from sago trees or fish bones are dipped in a mixture of langsat sap and charcoal, which are then pricked on the part of the body. It can be located on the chest, cheeks, eyelids, calves, and hips.

The tattoo motifs are geometric or circular lines and dots in the form of conical or tridiagonal triangles that line up.

3. The Waropen Tribe

Tattoos for the Waropen people, Papua, are done more by women than men. During puberty, the Waropen girls had lots of tattoos on their bodies.

First, the tattoo artist creates a pattern on the skin with black coloring. Then, using two fish bones to stab, tied to a pair of sticks, and beaten with another piece of wood.

Then the small wounds are rubbed again with black, making them slightly inflamed. Thus the motif remains indelible on the skin.

The whole process is somewhat painful, so tattooing is done in stages, only some at a time. It may take 2-3 days in the process.

The cooperation of various parties is needed to protect Austronesia Tattoo in Papua,

Starting from traditional community institutions, the older generation in Papua, and the younger generation to the relevant regional governments.

Knowing history is indeed something that needs to be learned so that your understanding increases.