View Full Version : Mentawai Island : The Ultimate Diversity Of The Hidden Paradise

19-09-2011, 16:04
Take a trip into the wild with an adventure to the Mentawai islands. Be surrounded by tropical rainforests and immerse yourself in the traditions of the local people. While the physical distance between the mainland and Mentawai is not great, this remains one of the most isolated places in Indonesia, and was only subject to outside influences at the start of the 20th century. A long way from the world of shopping malls and theme parks, this is where travellers come to get a truly off the beaten track adventure.

Located off the West coast of Sumatra, the Mentawai archipelago includes four municipalities, Sirebut, Sipora, North Pagai and South Pagai. Sirebut is the biggest of the islands and remains largely covered with tropical rainforest. From the moment you arrive on Sirbeut and see the white coral beaches, ancient rainforests and hear the cheeky black gibbons playing in the trees you’ll find it hard to resist falling in love with the place. This island is home to a rich array of bio-diversity which has earned it designation as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

The remote location of these islands means that the Mentawai people have had very little contact with the outside world. The archipelogo is thought to have broken off from the rest of Sumara about 500,000 years ago and it is only since the 20th century that outside influences began to have an impact on the local people. Today, the Mentawai still abide by traditional practices and live largely off the land. Local people have a strong spiritual relationship with the forest with a belief system that emphasizes harmony with creation.

It is believed people first came to inhabit these islands at least several thousand years ago. Most anthropologists classify the Mentawai people as Protomalay which means they have a mostly Neotlithic culture but have not been effected by Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism.

Tatoos are an important symbol in Mentawai culture and reflect maturity, manhood and status. The art of this body painting has been inherited from ancient ancestors and the ink is made from natural fibres.

The biggest town on Sirebut is Muara Sirebut on the southeast coast. This is the major point of entry for tour groups from the mainland. From here, you can travel with a with a local guide and trek inland to some of the Mentawai villages. If your bahasa is good enough, chat to the locals and enjoy their hospitality.

The other big attraction for visitors to these islands is the world class surfing. With some of the best surfing conditions in the world, monster waves and swells that remain all year round, this is ranked by serious surfers as a must visit destination.

Source: indonesia.travel


05-10-2011, 13:51

27-06-2013, 16:11
For Mentawai People, Tattoo is a symbol of art expression and a status determination in society.Moreover, Tattoo for Mentawai People is also symbol for an eternity clothing. The importance of having tattoo in Mentawai society is substantial, they are believe that tattoo will show their ancestor in heaven.

These societies that live in Mentawai, West Sumatra are always having full body tattooed. The body parts that want to be tattooed will be designed by using thin stick; a line motif tattoo is the characteristic of Mentawai, which has particular method space in drawing. Originally, the system of spacing will manually use finger. The motif that ready for drawing will be prick by using wooden pin. The pin that being used is made by animal bones or sharpened wooden Karai. The wooden handle will gently hit by using wooden hammer to absorb the color solution into the skin.

The tattoo dyes that being used are made from a mixture of natural colors, which is made ​​from sugarcane and coconut shell charcoal. The process of tattooing will start from hands, arms, legs and body, and it will make swollen and bleed for few days.

In addition to line pattern, there are other tattoo motifs which are made ​​to follow a number of rules, usually distinguished by the origin of the village or clan. This is due to the function of tattoos as an identity of the Mentawai tribe.

The motif is also describes the identity and social status or profession of a person. The tattoo of a tribal elder (sikerei) will be different with a tattoo who is a hunter. The hunters will make tattooed with pictures of animals, such as birds, pigs, monkeys, deer, or alligator. While sikerei usually have sibalu-balu star tattoos on her body.

Mentawai's tattoos called the titi, whereas people who are good at tattooing called sipatiti or sipaniti. Not everyone can be sipatiti or sipaniti. Usually, a sipatiti or sipaniti will be given a pig or some chickens as a remuneration for their works of tattooing.

The process during tattooing is not easy but it follows number of procedures and customs that takes a long time. The preparation stage can be few months. A number of ceremonies and taboos (punen) must be passed or made ​​before the tattoo is done.


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