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Adventure travel specializing in the indigenous people of Irian Jaya

The Asmat: Spirits and Artists

asmat greeting
 
asmat bispoles

The Asmat, perhaps the best known of all the tribes in Irian Jaya, inhabit the southern swamplands of this diverse region. These tidal swamplands are certainly well known, but remain difficult to access and still little traveled.

The Asmat are perhaps the most spiritually ritualistic of all the known groups in Irian Jaya. The Asmat (a word that means "wood") believe that they were created from wood. As a result, trees are a sacred part of their culture. Most of their famous art carvings are intricately tied with ancestor spirits and complex, year-long ceremonies. Asmat woodcarvings are some of the most sought after in the world.

Journey with us into this fascinating and complex world of spirits and headhunters. Sit in a longhouse and enjoy elaborate drumming ceremonies and stories of headhunting days. Watch as entire communities share in the physical and spiritual creation of their beautiful carvings. Spending time with these once feared warrior-cannibals is an experience that will awaken the artist and ancestor spirits in every visitor!

 

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