Papua is the easternmost province in Indonesia with a variety of unique cultural diversity, one of which is traditional clothing. For those of you who don’t know, Papua consists of 2 provinces that are Papua and West Papua and has 5 indigenous territories namely Mamta (Jayapura District, Jayapura City, Keerom District, Sarmi Regency and Mamberamo Raya Regency), Saereri (Biak Numfor, Supiori, Yapen and Waropen Islands, Anim Ha (Mearuke, Boven Digoel, Asmat, and Mappi Regencies), La Pago (Jayawijaya District, Bintang Mountains, Lanny Jaya, Tolikara, Nduga, Puncak Jaya, Yalimo, Yahukimo, Membramo Tengah and Puncak Districts) ), Mee Pago (Districts of Dogiyai, Deiyai, Nabire, Intan Jaya, Paniai and Mimika). Well, traditional clothes in each province and indigenous territories of Papua are different from one another. Not only by region, traditional clothes that are used for children, adolescents, adults, men, and women are also distinguished.
Design of the traditional clothes
Traditional clothing used by Papuans generally comes from natural components found in the environment surrounding them.
a. Men’s traditional clothes
Men’s traditional clothing in the form of koteka is made from water pumpkin. Koteka functions to cover the genitals and the shape of the koteka is conical at the front and tied to the waist to point up. The size of the koteka used is based on one’s social status. The higher the social status or position, the greater the koteka. In addition, for kings or chiefs, the koteka used is hereditary from its predecessors. However, not all regions in Papua use Koteka. Koteka is usually used by several tribes in the mountains. For some tribes that live in coastal areas, they use loincloths shaped like tassel made of sago leaves. They wear it by tying it to their waist using a rope.
Koteka and loincloth are usually used to cover the lower body, while the upper part of the body is preferred bare.
b. Women’s traditional clothing
Generally, women’s traditional clothes are not much different from men, namely using a loincloth / tassel skirt. What distinguishes it is that this outfit is made as smooth as possible and added with an attractive motif in dark brown and reddish color. Traditional clothing in each customary territory is different but this garment is made of the same material: taken from dried plant fibers which are then arranged into a kind of skirt to cover the lower body.
Those who live in rural areas generally only use tassel skirts and don’t wear tops. Meanwhile, some areas use clothing made from tree barks.
Custom clothing accessories
To complement traditional clothing, Papuans generally add some supporting accessories, such as:
a. Body Painting
As explained earlier, traditional Papuan clothing only covers the lower body. Therefore, both men and women paint their bodies with certain motifs according to local customs. The colors used are usually white and red. Red comes from clay mixed with water, while white comes from mashed mussels.
b. Head accessories
Headdresses that are usually used are shaped like a crown. Generally, this head covering is made of cassowary feathers, palm fiber, woven sago leaves, beads from shells, etc.
Noken is a Papuan woven bag made of bark. Its function is to store food, garden produce, etc. This noken is usually worn on the head by women during traditional ceremonies.
d. Animal fangs
Men usually use pig fangs on the nose as a symbol of manliness. In addition, there are also decorative beaded necklaces from shells or dog teeth that are used.
Papua has a variety of traditional clothing styles with their respective philosophies. If you come and visit Papua, don’t forget to observe this uniqueness and buy accessories that are sold as souvenirs.