4 Papuan Traditional Weapons and Their Uses

goodmorningpapua.com – Traditional weapons are possesed by almost every tribe, including the tribes in Papua Province. The Papuan people have several traditional weapons used to protect themselves and hunt. Papuan weapons are also known for their uniqueness, both from the material they are made of and their shapes.

Here are some traditional Papuan weapons:

1. Dagger of Cassowary Bone

The dagger of Cassowary Bone is not too long, but its sharpness can make enemies fearful. If traditional weapons are generally made of metal, this Papuan dagger uses the bones of a Cassowary bird.

This dagger from Cassowary Bone is made by being sharpened at the tip, then the weapon is decorated with feathers on the hilt. This weapon is also decorated with woven leather that has previously been painted white.

Another decoration in the form of shells affixed to the feathers of a Cassowary. Dagger was first familiarized by the Asmat Tribe. In the past, weapons were believed to be used only for rites of killing. But now, weapons are used as a complement to the traditional clothes of Papuan men. How to wear it by wrapping it around the side of the men’s waist.

2. Bow and Arrow

Each tribe in Papua, they have bows and arrows of different types, both in form, function, material of production, even the mention is also different. In the Muyu Tribe, one of the tribes in Papua, the “Bow” is called Tinim, while the Arrow is Ando.

The material for producing bows or Tinim is from a small palm or palm tree. The tree is split as wide as three fingers. Then, the end of the bow is tied with the other end of the bow to form a semicircle.

In addition, the bow uses a special bamboo that has been mashed to be placed in the center, the bamboo is tied with a genemo rope that has been spun to hold the bamboo. Meanwhile, arrows or Ando are made from alip or eunuch trees, a type of bamboo tree taken from the forest. This tree is then processed using fire to make it straight. Once straight, the arrow is attached with an arrowhead made of bamboo.

Previously, the bamboo that would be used as the arrowhead had been shaped beforehand. The arrowhead is made in three forms, namely jubi, kanat (double-edged knife), and spear (reverse serrated).

3. Stone Axe

Stone axes found in Papua are generally oval ones. However, over time, the stone axe culture was almost forgotten. In the Sentani culture, a big tribal group in Papua, the stone axe had a shift in function. Stone axes are no longer a working tool for cutting trees down, chopping sago, or making boats.

The stone ax or “He” (a Sentani language) is used as a hereditary inheritance that has social value, especially in traditional ceremonies, such as payment of dowry, customary fines, and payment of heads. In Sentani, there are several types of stone axes, namely:

He Nokhong, black stone axe

He Phinukhu, black and green stone axe

He Hawaphu, green stone axe

He Khongge, black stone ax with white spots

He Hawa phulu, greenish stone axe

He Raime rouw, light green stone axe

He Yanggove, dark green stone axe

He Hokhai, reddish-green stone axe

He Rondo fikholie, a whitish green stone axe

 The stone axes most often used in traditional ceremonies and traditional payments are He Nokhong, He Phinukhu, He Hawaphu, and He Khongge.

4. Spear

Spear is a traditional weapon used for hunting. Hunting is one of the livelihood systems found in the Papuan community. Spears are also used as a weapon of war to defend or seize territory. For the Papuan people, war is an achievement or prestige.

The length of the spear is for about 2 and 3 meters, the spear is made of bamboo sticks or Nibun stems with spear blades made of iron wood or pine trees. However, after many people made contact with people outside Papua, many spearheads were made of metal. For the tribes living in the mountains, they use iron that is formed in such a way as a kind of javelin with a length of about 3 to 5 meters. The point of the spear is made tapered. As a result, if the weapon is stabbed into the opponent, it can penetrate the opponent’s body to death. The spears created by the Mappi and Asmat tribes are made of wood with jagged points, while the base is decorated with bird feathers. Apart from being used for war, spears are also used to hunt wild animals, such as wild boars, Cassowaries, deer, and kangaroos.

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