If you only know about Koteka as Papua and West Papua’s traditional statement, then you should get to know other Papuan unique accessories, weapons, and traditional clothes.
When talking about Papua and West Papua, what will mostly cross people’s minds is their unique and authentic traditional clothing called Koteka. But the truth is the Land of Cendrawasih has so much more than just the male member sheath. Papua and West Papua have tons of pretty traditional clothes, accessories, and even weapons. What are they? Here are some of the Papuan unique accessories, weapons, and traditional clothes.
If you are looking for beautiful and eccentric accessories, well, Papua and West Papua have one. You will fall in love with their traditional Noken bag, and it is not just a bag. Noken has a deep meaning for locals here. One of the special philosophies Noken has is it becomes the symbol of good life and prosperity.
Why does it have such a deep meaning? Because Noken is made of materials taken from the woods and carried crops from the mother earth. Besides strings, Noken also uses orchid roots, weeds, bark, and some types of leaves. From the hands of Papuan women, Noken is created.
As a matter of fact, in 2012, Noken received recognition from The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an intangible cultural heritage. No wonder visitors from local and overseas always look for this gorgeous bag.
One of the Papuan unique accessories, weapons, and traditional clothes is Sali. This woman’s clothing represents the identity of Papua and West Papua‘s provinces. If you see Papuan girls wearing Sali, the ladies are still single or unmarried.
Sali is made of natural brown tree bark. Sali slightly looks like a skirt with an open chest. Over time, Sali has adapted to the current culture. It is added with knitted tree bark, similar to Noken, with dark red and other colorful ornaments.
Girls wearing Sila also add crown-like headdresses, which makes them look cuter. Because it is meant for unmarried women, it is inappropriate for married women to wear this traditional piece. Women here wear Sali as their daily outfit.
If Papuan single ladies wear Sali, the married women sport Yokai. Yokai is specially worn in a remote area of West Papua. Since this traditional clothing becomes a symbol of Papuan people, it is not sold in any souvenirs store in town.
The materials used to create Yokai are the same as the ones used to make Sali. However, locals choose tree bark with reddish-brown color for Yokai.
Just like Noken, Yokai also has a deep meaning. This remarkable cloth portrays the relations between humans and nature. Papuan women combine Yokai with their traditional tassel skirts.
Dog Teeth and Pig Fangs
Pig teeth and pig fangs are among Papuan’s unique accessories, weapons, and traditional clothes. People in Papua and West Papua use these hardest substances in dogs’ and pigs’ bodies for accessories. The dog teeth are normally used as necklaces, while the pig fangs are placed between tribes’ nostrils.
For locals in Papua and West Papua, dogs are precious. Korowai tribe in Mappi district is one of the ethnic groups who use this accessory. It takes quite a time to create the teeth necklace. The length of the necklace varies from a half meter to even two meters. Creating a half-meter necklace takes a long time. It is because four canines are taken from a single dog.
Until the present day, dogs have become Papuan’s favorite animal. They consider them part of the family. Dead dogs’ heads are kept on a sago midrib in a hidden place to get those teeth. Those heads are left until their teeth are fallen by themselves. Next, they took the canine teeth and hollowed out the base to insert rope into it.
The use of a traditional weapon for people in Papua and West Papua is closely related to their daily life. This traditional weapon is also used to complete their traditional clothes and as their traditional dancing property. Among many Papuan traditional weapons, the spear is the most popular one.
Spear is used for hunting animals from long distances. It is made of wood and sharpened rocks. Besides using rock, locals also utilize bones to make the spearhead. Along with the times, locals used metal instead of rocks and bones.
Locals call spear “Tul.” What makes Tul so special is that locals are not allowed to use them outside hunting or fighting. They are forbidden to use Tul to cut saplings or carry crops. If someone is misusing Tul, people believe they will face misfortune in their life. Spears are very well kept. It also represents men’s bravery.
Those are brief information about Papuan unique accessories, weapons, and traditional clothes. Thanks to locals on this Island who still preserve their traditional legacy, we can learn more about them.