The Korowai And The Kombai

Korowai And Kombai People

We are never acknowledge before that West Papua is more surprises than we expected, After Asmat people and The Dani, there are still any other tribe that we can review the uniqueness and the the way they are living among the society.

Koroway and Kombai people, are the indigenous tribe who live in Southeastern Papua, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. They are different tribe, but they have similar way of living. Those tribes are living in the same way, which in up to the top of the trees. The Korowai and Kombai live in tree houses usually built between six and 25 metres above ground but they can be as high as 50 meters in times of tribal conflict. The purposes to build that such house are to avoid some animal attack from the jungle, to avoid the flood during the raining season, and to be a post guard during the conflict that may occur.

The Korowai, they also sometimes being called as Kolufo. The majority Korowai Clans are live in tree houses as their territory, but since 1980 they were move into some villages in Yanimaru at the Becking River banks, Mu and Mbasman
The Korowai are the expert hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists who practice shifting cultivation. They have excellent hunting and fishing skills for gaining necessary protein and to survive in their life fulfilling their needs.

The leadership structures within The Korowai are based on personal qualities of strong men rather than on institution. The interclan warfare occurs mainly because of witchcraft and sorcery-related conflicts. Within the framework of punishing those who committed witchcraft a certain type of cannibal justice is found.

Ralating the Korowai religion, it is mentioned that they have more spirits regarding the animism ancestors believes. They also sometimes held a ceremony of Sago festival to stimulate prosperity and fertility in a ritual fashion. The Korowai have an extraordinary and rich oral tradition like myths, folktales, magical sayings and charms, and totem traditions. Moreover, with respect to death and afterlife the Korowai believe in the existence of a reciprocal type of reincarnation.

The Korowai have been reported to practice ritual cannibalism up to the present day, but it is mentioned that the practice of cannibalism were implemented in matter of judgment, as their traditional criminal justice system. For those who were considered as shaman or psychics was killed and ate by the people for offering.

The Korowai are one of the few Papuan tribes who do not wear kotekas. The men of this tribe have their penises “pushed” into the scrotum, and on the skin which sticks out, they have tightly tied a green leaf. On Korowai Batu they use nutshells instead of leaves, and the women wear short skirts made of sago palm phloem, which is also their main food. For the decoration of the body we have to name the bones from the wings of a flying fox. The Korowai’s women place this in the nose. Also the necklace from dog´s tooth are really important for them. The mother give these necklaces to the daughter and this is still in use. The men use necklaces from pig´s tooth.

The Kombai, as well as The Korowai, they also live in the tree houses up to 20 meters high and have some similar cultural practices with The Korowai, but speak a different language. For Kombai, pigs are being used to be currency, also if the wife of Kombai man were to die, the family of the woman may demand pigs as compensation. For Kombai men to marry, they first have to buy the woman from her family with necklaces made from dogs teeth.

The Kombai generally live in clans, with each clan are living in a large tree house, even the most activities are done outside. Each clan guards its tree house and territory with bows and arrows. In certain areas of the forest, no clans build tree houses or occupy it, as these places are reserved for the spirits.

For food, the Kombai hunt pigs and other forest animals, fish, eat the larvae of beetles and plants, and eat Sago from Sago palms. The Kombai often use small dogs to help track down and kill animals.

Before converted to Christianity, The Kombai was the same as The Korowai, they have spirits to believe. Pigs are the most important creature and the most sacred animal that playing the role within their believe. The pigs are always used to be the offering. The Kombai believe in evil spirits called Suangi, which is eat the blood or internal organs of their victims and then stuff the bodies with leaves and grass and also to devour the person’s soul. The Kombai also believe in Khakhua-Kumu, evil men who consume the souls of their victims, and must be killed or eaten in return.

The Kombai men are mostly wear a beak from big bird instead of a koteka on their penises. Their menacing look is intensified by long necklaces made of dog teeth, and they rarely lay their bows and arrows aside. The heads of the arrows are often made of bones. The women walk half naked, only in short skirts made of sago.

In conclusion, both Koroway and Kombai are typically the same but the have their own way of thoughts and their own wisdom to make their own way of living. In other words, they are beautiful.

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