Korowai West Papua has a treehouse as a shelter. In Bali, the Korowai themselves aesthetically understand the function of their house. For them, the house means the many categories and principles surrounding it. In particular, there are characteristics and meanings of the Korowai stilt houses culturally from material actions.
Korowai House Expectations
The question of what is in the house and how it is there, is what most people want to know. Since the mid-1990s, Papuans’ most frequently seen representation with global media audiences has been the photographic image of the Korowai or Kombai treehouse. Many tourists come to take pictures and see the treehouse in person.
The strong global interest in Korowai tree houses is partly a response to the residence’s aesthetics. For tourists and media audiences, the sensory experience of this treehouse evokes feelings of beauty, awe, and possibly fear. In other words, an image of a treehouse is a stronger representation of the culture and history of the population that lived around it.
The representation of their actual home appears to describe the most appropriate conditions. However, Korowai in West Papua denies that a house is an aesthetic object. In comparison, global audiences are attracted by how these houses stand firm with their unique construction. Cultural expectations about homes for the Korowai treehouses are commonplace.
Characteristics of Korowai House
The height of the Korowai house attracts intense attention because this feature can play a role in the visual emphasis of aesthetics in the modern worldview. Looking at the places, Korowai is the transience of the house. About four thousand Korowai live spread over 500 square miles of forest in the lowlands and more than a hundred miles inland from the Asmat coastline.
Residents of a house build a new residence on average more than once per year. This speed is due to how fast the tree trunks supporting the ladder poles weaken. In addition, the natural material of the thatched roof and floor were damaged. But this house also reflects the social and aesthetic enthusiasm of the people to build new homes in different locations in their way.
Often they feel the need to leave home unexpectedly after death. Temporality is a feature of the experience of staying at home with units of duration. House damage is a category of time calculation for Korowai, West Papua. Although these houses are usually around a year in length, the measurements follow their personal history.
Apart from that, home is also a prominent place for people to find events. Adult Korowai often list the fifty consecutive homes they have lived in so far. Referring to each aspect, the home is the life-changing transition of marriage, birth, and death that doesn’t stay there forever.
Korowari’s house in the form of a stage can also be seen directly on the ceiling. Rather than throwing bones out, other leftovers routinely stuff them in the hay. The interior of the house is composed of mammal and bird bones. Apart from that, several different elements, such as a rearranged snake spine, a turtle shell, and a whole fish skeleton, make up the house’s interior.
Using rattan over the fireplace, residents hang large bones such as pork leg bones, pig skulls, and cassowary pelvis. The reason they do this practice indicates prosperity. The longer a house is lived in, the more cluttered the ceiling will be with all the animal parts. It also causes the treehouses in West Papua to darken even more with soot.
Not only that, but the Korowai also take home as an icon of the wider temporality of their lives. Korowai understands that the house is valuable as an object in life. However, they identified the temporality of house construction, shelter, neglect, and decay as the main qualities of their dwelling.
Treehouse as an Icon of Social Relations
The term Korowai for the word house does not designate a social group. Korowai has the label of home society because living together produces a special quality of social relations. Often a married couple and their children are the core of a household. The house is shared by two brothers and their respective wives and children.
Households sometimes consist of only parents and unmarried children, or only women or men. Residential arrangements routinely alternate between several houses, involving almost certain others. Physically, the house is a cage for the Korowai. The walls keep out the wind, the roof keeps out the rain, and the floors support the body.
Meanwhile, doors and stair posts provide access to the outside and in. Also, their balconies provide a more detailed view, and the height provides a sense of separation. But strikingly, the house’s character shares the well-being of the local community of West Papua. Almost all of Korowari’s social interactions are informed by centrally applying landscapes to regional clans.
All in all, the treehouse is a solid work of art presenting various contexts in the lives of the surrounding community. The strength of a Korowari house lies in the link between time, the accumulation of food history, the social history of life, and social meaning. All aspects of the Korowai tree house have unique characteristics that support the life of the local community.