Category Archives: About Irian Island

“Asmat”, the famous Papua tribe

Asmat is the name of the largest and most famous tribe among the many tribes in Papua, Irian Jaya, East Indonesia.  Irian Jaya or Papua is the largest province of Indonesia, located in the central part of of Papua Island or the eastern part of West New Guinea (Irian Jaya). Eastern parts is the Country of Papua New Guinea or East New Guinea.

One of the things that made the Asmat tribe well known is traditional wood carving that is very typical.


An Asmat woodcarver
Source : Own work
Author : Edi Wibowo
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Some ornaments / motifs that are often used and the main theme in the process of carving statues that made by the Asmat tribe is taken from the theme of their tribal ancestors.

Carving for Asmat tribe could be a link between the present life with the life of their ancestors. In each carving contained the image and appreciation for their ancestors that is loaded with Asmat tribe greatness.

Sculptures and carving are generally made without sketches. For Asmat tribe, when the statues was carved was a time when they communicate with the ancestors in the other world.

Often also found ornaments / other motif that is similar to the boat, which is they believe as a symbol of the boat that brings the ancestor soul in the another world. For the native Amat tribe, wood carving is a manifestation of the way they perform the ritual to remember the souls of the ancestors.


Asmat Tribe Papua


Asmat tribe spreads out and inhabit the area, around the shores of the sea and mountains Arafuru Jayawijaya. With a fairly heavy conditions, considering the area is occupied, wilderness, in the life of Asmat tribe, the stone that we usually see on the streets was very valuable to them. In fact, the stones can be used as a dowry.

All of that is because Asmat tribe residence shape the swamps, so it is difficult to find a stone which is very useful for them to make axes, hammers, and so on.

Asmat population in general have a typical physical characteristics, black and curly-haired. Their body are quite high. The average height of the Asmat women are around 162 cm and height of men can reach till  172 cm.

Asmat tribe has a very simple way to makeup themselves. They only need the red soil to produce a red color. White color is made from the clamshells that have been mashed, whereas the black color they produce from the wood charcoal that is mashed. Is quite simple to use it,  only by mixing it with a little water and then the dye was able to use for coloring the body.

The lifestyle of indigenous Asmat people  is that they feel they are a part of nature, that is why they are very respectful and keep the surrounding of nature. Even the trees around where they live are considered to be a picture of  themself. The trunk describes arms, fruit describes the head and the roots describe their feet.

Asmat people daily work surrounding environment. To find food is by hunting and gardening, which still uses traditional methods and simple. The main food of Asmat people is sagu/ Sago and special dishes for them is sagu worm (the larvae of the sago palm weevil), but everyday they just grilling fish or meat of animals from the hunt.


Asmat people preparing sagu/ sago


Asmat Papua fishing


 More detail about Asmat tribe can be found at : 

Asmat people (Wikipedia)


Papua, Irian Island, East Indonesia, location of Asmat Tribe

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Snow in “Puncak Jaya” (Carstensz Pyramid) Jayawijaya Mountains in the tropical area of Eastern Indonesia

Jayawijaya Mountains is the only mountains and mountain in Indonesia which have the peak that covered with eternal snow. Jayawijaya Mountains stretched lengthwise in the center of the province of West Papua and Papua (Indonesia) to Papua New Guinea on the island Newguinea (Irian Island) with the height 4884 meters above sea level. Row of Mountains which have some of the highest peak in Indonesia was formed by the removal of the sea floor thousands of years ago.


Location of Jayawijaya Mountains, Papua, Indonesia

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Jayawijaya Mountains become a paradise for world geological researchers because there are still many secrets of the unknown stones of Jayawijaya. The peak which is also listed as one of the top seven continents (Seven Summit) which is phenomenal and became the target of mountaineers in the world.

Researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University, USA, Dwi Susanto, said the ice in  Puncak Jaya,  JayaWijaya Mountains, Papua, currently lives 22 percent of entirety.  Drastically reduced 78 percent in 2006 since 1936.


Puncak Jaya , West Papua , Indonesia
This is a NASA astronaut June 2005 photograph draped over the NASA World Wind SRTM90 DTM and viewed from a similar angle to the 1936 and 1972 USGS photo of this tropical glacier group.
Source : Made with NASA World Wind from NASA public domain imagery 
Author : Original uploader was Gergyl at en.wikipedia
Licensed under the GFDL by the author


He explained that the ice is reduced drastically due to the influence of climate change, the global climate change that more heat will accumulate around the equator.

Puncak Jaya  in the mountains of Jayawijaya, Papua, is one of three peaks in tropical areas which is permanently covered with a layer of ice, the others are the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and  Andes Mountains Peak in Peru, America Latin.


Puncak Jaya
Source : Alfindra Primaldhi
Author : Alfindra Primaldhi
Under the terms of the license Creative Commons 2.0 Generic paternity


“By examining the ice sheet, not only to predict the future, but also see the history of climate change in Indonesia and Asia Pacific,” said Chief  BMKG (Organization of Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Indonesia)  Sri Woro Harijono.

Besides known as Puncak Jaya, the highest peak is also known as Carstensz Pyramide, or the Carstensz Peak. The name was taken from an adventurer from the Netherlands, namely Jan Carstensz, who first saw the snowy peaks in the tropics, specifically in Irian Island. The truth of  Carstensz report revealed after nearly three hundred years later, when in 1899 a Dutch expedition mapping Papua Island and found the mountain peaks that is covered by snow, as reported by Crastensz. Hard to believe to see the snow scenery in the tropical area.

To honor Carstensz, the mountain peak was later given of his name,  while the name of  Puncak Jaya (Jaya Peak) was s a gift from President Sukarno (firsts President of Indonesia)  after successfully obtained the sovereignty of West Papua from the Netherlands. This name has a meaning  : “Peak Victory”, as an expression of gratitude for the unification of  West Papua with the Republic of Indonesia.


Expedition to Carstensz Pyramide



Location of Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) Jayawijaya Mountains

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List of highest mountains of New Guinea (Wikipedia)

Paradise Birds from Eastern of Indonesia

Birds of Paradise that are typical of Papuan birds, Indonesian peoples call them by the name Cenderawasih, especially males, they have a beautiful hair like an angel coming down from heaven with a very beautiful fur.
Birds of Paradise are collection of bird species that are grouped in families Paradisaeidae derived from the word Paradise.

Birds that found only in eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Australia consists of 14 genus and about 43 species, 30 species of them can be found in Indonesia, 28 species of them living on the island of Papua. Indonesia is a country with the largest numbers of the Cenderawasih species.

The Birds of Paradise have a beautiful fur characteristics possessed by the male birds. Generally light-colored fur with a combination of several colors like black, brown, red, orange, yellow, white, blue, green and purple and the size of the birds are various.


Bird of Paradise


Bird of Paradise

The beauty of fur from male used to attract the opposite sex. To attract the attention of females that are willing are invited mating, the male bird will show off fur to make beautiful dances. While singing on the branches, swaying with different movements in different directions.
Sometimes even up hanging upside down rely on branches. However, each species of Cenderawasih would have their own dances.

Populations of birds of Cenderawasih in Papua are endangered. The road project workers and employers in the area of forest often hunted birds for sale, either because of low salaries or for other reasons they often slept in the woods to catch the birds. The price a dead bird of Cenderawasih can be up to millions of rupiah in foreign countries, much higher for those which are still alive.
There are 11 types of Cenderawasih that are still roam in 13 districts in Papua, but has not been recorded. One time the population of Cenderawasih in Papua would be extinct. The reason is, there is no proper maintenance and care, while the forests in Papua from year to year continues to be cleared (deforestation).

Bird of paradise (from Wikipedia) in Indonesia


Lesser Bird of paradise

Lesser Bird of Paradise by Roderick Eime.
en:Image:BOP 0004-i.jpg by en:User:Rodeime
GNU Free Documentation License


Brown Sicklebill ( Epimachus meyeri )

Epimachus meyeri Papua New Guinea male
Creator markaharper1, for Wikipedia
The Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Ribbon-tailed Astrapia

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri) juvenile (male)
Author : pomfoto
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


Ribbon-tailed Astrapia mayeri with long tail, Papua New Guinea
Creator : markaharper1 for Wikipedia
Licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


King Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Raja)

King Bird of paradise (Cicinnurus regius)
Creator Doug Janson
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Red Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Merah)

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
License GNU Free Documentation License (Wikipedia)


Female Red Bird of Paradise
Creator : Doug Janson
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Paradisaea rubra
GNU Free Documentation License (Wikipedia)


 Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Raggiana)

Raggiana_Bird of Paradise
Author : markaharper1
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


Raggiana Adult Male Bird of Paradise
Author : Photo by Brian McNab
This file is the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 General


 Greater Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kuning-besar)

Greater Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda)
Author : Andrea Lawardi
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Greater Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda). Male at Bali Bird Park.
Author : Andrea Lawardi
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Mati-Kawat)

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleuca)
GNU Free Documentation License. (Wikipedia)


Paradise-crow (Cenderawasih Gagak)

Author : Richard Bowdler Sharpe for Wikipedia


Superb Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kerah)

A male Superb Bird of Paradise in Papua New Guinea.
Author : markaharper1
Creative Commons Deroadenn-Kentanna 2,0 Hollek


Superb Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Kerah)

A male King of Saxony Bird of Paradise in Papua New Guinea.
Author : markaharper1
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Botak)

Wilson’s Bird of Paradise
Author : Serhanoksay
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Blue Bird-of-paradise (Cenderawasih Biru)

Blue Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi)
Author : Richard Bowdler Sharpe


The most famous birds of paradise, are the member of the genus Paradisaea, including species of large yellow of paradise, Paradisaea apoda. This species is described from specimens were taken to Europe from trading expeditions. The specimen was prepared by native traders by removing the wings and legs in order to be decorated. It is not known by the explorers and lead to the belief that these birds never landed but remain in the air because of feathers. This is the origin of the name bird of paradiseand apoda name which means no legs.

Birds of paradise without legs
Author : John Johnston


Communities in Papua often wear fur Bird of Paradise (Cenderawasih), in their dress and customs, and a few centuries ago, fur were important for making women’s hats in Europe. Hunting fur and habitat destruction causes a decrease in the number of Cenderawasih in a few species, endangered their species, also their habitats. Deforestation is still a major threat.


Paradisaea apoda (Cenderawasih Kuning-besar)
This image was copied from wikipedia: en. The original description was:
Birds Paradise ff (Greater Bird of Paradise, Wilson’s Bird of Paradise)
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic



Lihat Peta Lebih Besar

In both videos the music is played by gamelan-orchestras which is typical for Java.