Ewer Clothing from West Papua, The Papuan One-of-a-Kind Ethnic Clothes

West Papua
Sumber : Kompas

Traditional clothing in each region in Indonesia can be different, depending on the characteristics of the region. Every pattern, color and ornament is always a reflection of a particular area. So is Papuan traditional clothing, especially the one in West Papua, that can be interpreted as a result of the culture developed in a society in the region. One of which is the Ewer clothing.

How Ewer Clothing is Made in West Papua

West Papua
Sumber : Imujio

This traditional clothing is one of a kind, indeed, as it is made of a natural material, which is straw. Ewer clothes are made through an environmentally friendly process. The straw used in making the traditional clothes has to be dried for some time.

Speaking of the use, Ewer clothes for both men and women are certainly of different uses. For men, the clothes are usually worn as subordinates without a top. The main material for making it is dried straw varies in length but is about knee-length and worn at the waist. As for women, Ewer’s clothes consist of tops and bottoms. The subordinates are also made of dried straw, approximately knee-length and worn around the waist. Meanwhile, the top is made of fabric. 

As time went by, Ewer has met its modernization; indigenous Papuan men and women in West Papua wear Ewer clothes with the upper part. The materials used are also a combination between natural material and fabric.

Nowadays, the Ewer clothes for men are customized and made of velvet fabric. The model is a pair of knee-length shorts with a cloth covering and a vest made of fabric. There is also some bright colored ornament on each tip of the men’s Ewer clothes.

The Events to Wear Ewer Clothing & The Accessories to Go with It

Ewer dresses are usually worn by women who live in the central mountains and the coasts. Several ethnic groups wear tassel skirts, including Yapen, Biak Numfor, Enjros, Nafri, Sentani, and Tobati. The people of West Papua pretty often wear ewer clothes in a large variety of traditional ceremonies, official ceremonies, and other occasions. 

For accessories, Papuan men and women generally wear a type of headgear with a typical West Papuan motif. Particularly for women, the variety of accessories to wear are headgears, bracelets, and necklaces. These accessories are usually made with hard and rough grains arranged with yarn pieces, while the headcovers are made with cassowary bird feathers. As for the men, there are additional accessories used like spears, shields, and arrows. 

Other Papuan Traditional Clothing

There are many other kinds of ethnic clothes in both Papua and West Papua. Some of which are the following:

Yokal Clothing

This traditional dress is especially worn by tribal West Papuan women who are married or have been married. Yokal clothes are typically embellished with a distinctive reddish-brown color. The name Yokal symbolizes the Papuan people who have a close relationship with nature. There are several accessories to go with it, such as head tassels, pig fangs, dog teeth, and noken bags.

Sali Clothing

Unlike Yokal, Sali is made for single or unmarried women instead. The basic material for making these clothes is selected tree bark with brown colors. The clothes are worn not only for special events but also daily.

Koteka or Holim

Koteka is more like accessories rather than clothes and is worn by indigenous Papuan men. The function is to cover the genitals. It is made of dried skin of water gourds, and to have it not to fall when being used, the technique for wearing it is tied around the waist with a smooth black rope. The size of the koteka varies according to the physical size of the man using it.  

The locals wear many more unique Papuan traditional clothing items in both Papua and West Papua Provinces. Despite the development in many sectors in the regions, it is still important to keep the traditional clothing reserved as it is a part of our nation’s identity.