Know More About World Famous Carving Traditions Asmat Papua Culture

Asmat Papua Culture

Asmat Papua Culture

Asmat Papua culture has not yet to be understood completely. This largest tribe in Papua has some uniqueness that is not yet to be revealed to the world. One of them is the art of wood carving they passed to the tribe members from their ancestors. Its knowledge about wood carving seems to reside gracefully to their descendants.

And yet, many people in the world seem to be unaware of this mystical art of Asmat people. They are still blind to the beauty and the meaning behind it. Even so, many people nowadays have come to understand that Asmat carving is an art that should be appreciated. Here is some knowledge about the wood carving art of this Papuan tribe.

Asmat Papua Culture of Wood Carving

As the generation of Asmat tribe in Papua, becoming familiar with carving art is a must. That is because this art and culture has survived over the generations and become part of their life. It is not just art but also something more for this tribe. The wood carving activities are sacred and need to be treated with great respect.

As the members of the tribe engrave their work on the wood, they actually initiate something sacred that relates to the spirit. The Asmat tribe believe that this process of sculpting is connecting themselves with the spirit. It then becomes their way to link themselves with the dead one.

The skill of carving in Asmat is a gift. The one who has this talent is often called the wowipits. With wow means as the activities of wood carving and ipits means the man. However, passing it to the family is still working. The father of the Asmat tribe will teach their children how to create pieces of carvings like boats and many others. The wood carving is often also made to be dedicated to the spirit of the ancestors.

The activities of wood carving usually have some purpose. Mainly it is to remember their part of the family who has passed away or to memorize their ancestors. Some also want to appreciate the beauty of nature by creating the natural characters that stick to their livelihoods into some sculpture. For some, the activity is done to express the inner feeling of happiness, anger, and many more.

The Asmat Carving’s Shapes

The Asmat Papua culture of wood carving usually being carved in a form of boat, shield, and bis pole. They usually made the carving using the form of their family or ancestors upon the idea that those who have passed away will be glad if they are always being remembered. Therefore, a boat is usually carved with the face of the family.

There are also natural characteristics like trees or animals. This model of carving is made to praise the beauty of the nature that the Asmat people lived in. The tree symbolizes the human. The root of the tree is the foot of a human, the stem means the body, the branches means the hands, and the leaves for the head.

The carving of the Asmat people is original. It is impossible to have the same carving since they made it without any sketches first. So, it might be similar, but not the same.


Appreciation towards the Asmat Papua culture of wood carving should start earlier than today. However, it is not too late to give your love towards their culture and work of art. These are meaningful to the artist to give them the pleasure and happiness of making a piece of work to the world. Appreciation will also help the carving become more and more globalized than now.