The Meaning of Accessories and the Social Class of the Dani Tribe in Papua

goodmorningpapua.com – The Dani people in the Baliem Valley, Papua, have garnishes on their bodies and symbols as accessories. A Researcher of the Papua Archaeology Centre, Hari Suroto, said that the garnishes and symbols on the bodies of the Dani people have meaning and reflect their social class.

“Accessories attached to the body will influence the performance and leadership system in social life,” said Hari Suroto,” for a strong, brave, capable, skilled, and trusted figure who can protect and organize the life and future of his tribe.”

The accessories for men and women of the Dani tribe, Papua, are different. On the body of a Dani man, there is a beads in the form of a headdress like a crown of red or white bird feathers. There is also a kinisi or puali, which is a headdress made of eagle or parrot feathers or white storks. The garnish on the nose in the form of pig fangs or called wam esi.

The embellishment of white face on the forehead is called herabuak, the accessory of the dog’s tail fur on the left and right arms is called a yeke esi, and the accessory on the chest like a tie is called a walimo. The accessory of eagle feathers on the back is called sawusa and the traditional men’s dress is holim or koteka.

The equipment the men always hold is a long spear made of black wood. This spear is called sege. The Hunting tools or weapons of war in the form of bows and arrows are called sikhe. White sulak-like objects called toktok and black sulak-like objects made of cassowary feathers are called muliages.

The accessories for Dani women in the form of epala decorations like a crown of yellow flowers are called holusogom eken, and accessories for the neck and chest (a kind of tie made of bark) are called zion or tipar. The traditional skirt for a girl is called a sali and the traditional skirt for a married Dani woman is called a yokal.

The skirt of the Dani tribe is made of knitted bark yarn called pisak kagalek. The yellow or red skirt on the top layer which is called yokal ewe or elyem. 

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