Indonesia has a very unique variety of tribes. One of the unique tribes in Indonesia is the Kamoro tribe. The Kamoro tribe is an indigenous Papuan tribe who inhabit and live in the southern coastal area of Papua, Mimika Regency, Papua. The area is approximately 250 km, which stretches from the Otikut River on the east side to the Potowai Buru on the west side. As a semi-nomadic society, the Kamoro live in three ecosystems, namely tropical rainforests, mangrove swamps and estuary areas which are rich in food sources.
In 1986 the population of East Mimika District was 16,305 people and West Mimika Subdistrict 6,743 people, spread among 75,766 inhabitants of Fakfak Regency. In 1990 the population of this district had become 88,488 people. The number of Kamoro people alone is estimated at around 8,000, as well as speakers of a language known as the Kamoro language. The physical characteristics of the Kamoro include an average height of 164.4 centimeters and a dolichocephalic head shape. The Kamoro tribe is rich in cultural diversity, including weaving activities by women, carving by men, songs, dances, legends and ‘karapao’ rituals which are still held today.
Kamoro people are known as people who have skills in making carvings or sculptures, as has been pointed out by J. Teurupun in the Art of Kamoro Carving (1990). Their works seem more abstract than those of the Asmat people. Art expressions are poured on sticks (ote-kapa) with fish fin motifs (eraka waiti) and bat wing bones (tako-ema). This means that the owner of the stick making the motif believes that they came from a fish or a bat.
People who cannot carve can order certain motifs according to their origin from an engraver. Another motif is the “vertebrae” (uema) which can be interpreted as the spine of a human, fish, or bird. The Kamoro believe that the spine is a symbol of life. The white cloud motif (uturu tani) can cause all kinds of imaginations, either in the carver, the owner or whoever sees it. This imagination can involve longing for your hometown, a lover who is dead, memories of an earthquake, and so on.
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