Traditional Houses of Papua, Full of Functions!

Indonesia consists of various tribes and cultures that have their own uniqueness. Not only on the traditional food, but also the form of the house or the art of architecture.


Every house throughout Indonesia is made based on its function and location. This time, we will discuss the traditional Papuan house which is simple but full of philosophy and full of functions. There are at least five types of Papuan traditional houses along with their popular names will be discussed below!


Honai House


One of the distinctive features of Papuan society is that men and women will live apart when they reach adulthood. Adult males reside in a residence known as Honai. Honai is often found in Papua’s valleys and highlands.

At first look, this traditional Dani Tribe dwelling resembles a mushroom due to its round form and conical top. The Honai home has a thatched roof that is bigger than the walls. The Honai house’s roof is designed to keep rainwater off the walls

Honai house is just 5 square meters in size and has two distinct rooms on two storeys. The first level is utilized for a variety of activities, while the second story is used for sleeping. The ordinary Honai house is not exceptionally huge and narrow. This is done to keep the home warm so that it can endure the chilly temperatures at night.


Honai houses are usually used to store preserved bodies or mummies, store game and weapons of war. Objects inherited from ancestors and traditional symbols are also stored here.


Ebai house


While Honai  house is intended for adult men, Ebai house is inhabited by adult women. Ebai is derived from the words ebe, which means body, and ai, which means lady. Ebai means woman is a body for life before someone is born in the world.

The Ebai house is smaller and shorter than the Honai house. The Ebai home is on the left or right side of an Honai house with a door that is not parallel to the Honai house.

It is in Ebai house that women usually carry out various activities. Here too, mothers will teach their children about various things before the child gets married later.

Wamai House


Not far from Honai house and Ebai  house there is usually a small house nearby called Wamai  house. This house is used as a cage for livestock, such as chickens, pigs, dogs or goats. Wamai  shape is very flexible, it can be square or circular depending on the number of pets that inhabit the house.

Kariwari House


If the Honai home is indicative of the Dani Tribe, the Kariwari house is representative of the Tobati-Enggros Tribe, who live primarily in the Lake Sentani area of Jayapura. The Kariwari home is a residence for a 12-year-old kid. The boy learns about life and earns a living at this house. They were trained to sculpt, hunt, build boats, and fight.

Kariwari has three stories and a height of up to 20 meters. The first story is for study, the second floor is for tribe chiefs to gather, and the third floor is for repose, meditation, or prayer.

Kariwari’s house is octagonal in shape with a conical roof. This form is believed to be able to hold the house from gusts of wind.

House of Rumsram


Following that comes the Rumsram house, which is the traditional home of the Biak Numfor Tribe. Rumsram house contains simply one room with no partitions and two entrances and windows.

The Rumsram home is shaped like a stilt house with an open bottom and no divider. A 12-year-old youngster from the Biak Numfor Tribe lives in the Rumsram home. They will learn about life and make a living in this house. The guys also learn how to sculpt, build boats, and fight.

It turns out that a full Papuan traditional home has a very profound meaning in addition to being a place to dwell. Have you seen it in person yet?


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