Kamoro Woodcarving

People of Kamoro tribe live along the Coast of Arafuru Sea in the southern of central Papua. Their villages lay in tidal are along the coast. They independently fulfill their primary needs, especially food by gathering it from nature. This tribe lives in semi-nomadic fashion and gains their food through gathering and fishing.  Their area is abundantly blessed with kinds of food, such as sago palm, fish, and cassava. Men are responsible for gathering the food and women cooking it for their family.

Once in a few months, people of Kamoro move and settle temporary houses along river banks to gather food for their daily need or to sell it in the markets in Timika.  The region which belongs to Kamoro tribe is Kokonao, part of the District of Mimika Barat, in Regency of Mimika. This tribe comprises 40 villages with population of 180.000. Generally, men in Kamoro work on gathering food. However, few of them are wood carvers. In Kamoro local language, they are called maramowe. Wooden carving is made to be used as a part of traditional ceremony ornament or for sale. Maramowe handmade wood carving is cultural icon of Kamoro tribe.

Types of their work: yamate (shield), wemawe (sculpture), po (paddle), paru (bowl of sago), eme (drum), but the most sacred is mbitoro (totem of ancestor). They even carve their dugouts with special reliefs which have particular meanings. Every lineage of maramowe has their own typical carving motif, which other lineages are prohibited to copy. Disaster may happen if this rule is purposefully broken.

As a local tour operator based in Timika, Adventure Carstensz always escorts their clients to have a city tour, including visiting local tribe communities around the town. The aim of city tour is to introduce the city to the clients and to make them acknowledged of culture and fine art of Kamoro teribe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *