logo banner honai/home page


KAMORO ECOLOGY - CHAPTER V.

© Kal Muller, 2004. (Bahasa Indonesia)


01. Poison from two species of Derris vine serve to catch fish. This group of fishes resulted from placing the poison in a pool of still water next to a creek located near one of the kapiri kame camps of Iwaka Village. The effects of the vine are quickly felt by the fish. In some 10 to 15 minutes they are floating on the surface.

02. The crucial sago tree, aside from providing the food staple, also servers as building material. Many other species of trees can also be used for house construction, from the mangrove swamps as well as the tropical rain forest. While to may take several days to gather all the necessary materials, the building of a house can be finished in a day or two by a team of dedicated men.

03. Sago leaves are the prferred thatching material. Traditional thatching is fast giving way to tin roofing. These look awful, are unbearably hot and under a heavy rain create a racket which prevents rational thought, let alone conversation. On the positive side, metal roofs last longer and can be used to collect rain water.

04. The walls of coastal houses are made from sago palm frond mid-ribs. These are called 'gaba-gaba' in Eastern Indonesia. Posts for the dwellings are made from two species of mangrove trees of the genus Rhizophora, along with three other main mangrove species. The best buildings are made of local ironwood, Intsia bijuga.

05. Nails are seeing increasing use in house contruction but the best binding material is still rattan, Calamus spp., which is a tough and pliable jugle vine. Called 'kema' in the Kamoro language, rattan is supplemented by vines of two other species, Flagellaria indica and Mussa enda.

06. Dressed up for a festival, aman wears clothing made from the plaited bark of the hibiscus tree, Hibiscus tiliaceous, commonly found in beach areas. Before the arrival of church and state, men were naked or wore a small bamboo penis sheath (in the west). Today, women occasionally wear blouses made from plaited trip of hibiscus bark. Men and women alike use store-bought clothing most of the time.

07. Hollowing out a section from a tree trunk to make a drum, a man blows on the fire inside the trunk with a bamboo tube in a controlled process to give the proper thickness to the sides. Two tree species are used to make drums: Hibiscus tiliaceous and Thespesia populnea.

08. Freeport set up a carving center for the Kamoro in Timika. During the construction of Kuala Kencana, the carvers working at the center received many orders for large statues to decorate the new town. The long-lasting statues are made of two species of local hardwood, Intsia bijuga and I. palembica, called Moluccan ironwood.

09. A large carving, called mbitoro, is essential to all Kamoro initiation rituals. The statue represents a recently deceased elder whose help and protection is sought. Only selected trees are used, varying from village to village. On the coast, these are Myristica fatua at Atuka Village and Horsfeldia irja at Kekwa Village.

10. A tall totem-pole like carving represents one or two recently deceased powerful elders who must be remembered by the whole village. Only a few types of trees may be used for this carving, including Myristica fatua and Horsfeldia irja.




  © Copyright UNIPA - ANU - UNCEN PapuaWeb Project, 2004.

honai/home page