Meet the warriors of AsmatAgats, Indonesia
As Coral Adventurer drops anchor off Syuru village, the ship is surrounded by war canoes paddled by standing warriors dressed in full tribal regalia. Once feared for their cannibalism – they purportedly used human skulls as pillows – their gesticulating towards guests is more friendly than formidable.
On its Papua New Guinea circumnavigation, Coral Expeditions includes a visit to Syuri village using the ship’s specially designed Xplorer tenders to take passengers ashore. The women of the village welcome guests with a traditional dance before travellers are invited into a longhouse to view the artworks for which the region is famous.
Located on the flood-prone delta of Asewets River, buildings are constructed on stilts a couple of metres above the ground and are connected by elevated boardwalks. Negotiating the rickety ladder-like steps into the longhouse requires steady concentration. The striking artworks of the Asmat have found their way from the coastal villages of New Guinea into art collections and museums in New York and Amsterdam. These elaborately stylised wood carvings, artefacts and shields are highly prized for their exquisite motifs honouring Asmat ancestors.
Later, guests explore the town of Agats, a former mission station, where the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress showcases a large collection of antiquities. There’s also the chance to purchase exquisite artworks direct from the craftsmen at the village of Syuru.
- This insight into a completely different culture.
- The chance to visit Papuan villagers in their longhouse.
- Meet local craftsman and buy their exquisite works of art.
- You’ll need to be sure on your feet to get up to the longhouse.
- There might not be enough room in your luggage for all the amazing artworks you want to bring home.
Coral Explorer stops in the Asmat Regency of Papua on Coral Expeditions’ 35-night New Guinea Circumnavigation cruise. It departs from Darwin and circumnavigates the island of New Guinea through West Papua and Papua New Guinea.