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Preserving Papua Culture Through Loka Museum

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Not only known for its natural beauty and biodiversity, Papua Province, located in eastern Indonesia, is also rich in culture. Papua culture is partly influenced by many indigenous tribes in Papua. The number reaches 255 ethnic groups and has 326 regional languages.

Preserving Papua Culture Through Loka Museum

In 2018, seven Papuan cultural works were designated as National Cultural Heritage by the Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy of the Ministry of Education and Culture. These artistic works include the Bhukere, or the traditional fishing tradition of the Sentani people. Hellaehili, the wailing song of the Sentani people, the Karemo dance, traditional Sirew clothes, Snapmor, or the tradition of catching fish in the style of the Biak people. There is also an Akonipuk mummy from Jayawijaya Regency.

What’s in the Loka cultural museum?

Hari Suroto, a researcher from the Papua Archeology Center, told Jubi.co.id that foreign academics widely know the existence of the Loka Museum. The museum has become a favorite destination for foreign tourists. The Lonely Planet guidebook lists this museum’s name as a resource for travelers visiting Papua.

Preserving Papua Culture Through Loka Museum

There are 2,500 objects in the museum’s collection, of which 900 are on view via glass windows. In addition, the museum’s collection is also increasing every year. The display rotates every five to seven years to avoid this problem and give each piece a chance to be viewed.

Some ethnographic objects displayed at the Loka Museum include kitchen utensils, war equipment, clothing, jewelry, musical instruments, transportation equipment, farming, hunting, fishing equipment, and various sacred objects. In addition, there are also wood carvings, paintings from bark, and beads.

There are five Melanesian cultural styles represented in the museum’s collections. Collectibles also consist of the outer and original parts of Papua culture from Dofonsoro Sepik, Saireri, South Beach, Central Mountains, and the Bird’s Head area.

Preserving Papua Culture Through Loka Museum

Clay for red, camphor for white, and wood charcoal for black dominate cultural works, usually made of natural materials. Besides being a colorant, these natural ingredients also function as a preservative. In this museum, visitors can also see Sowang wooden poles that were thought to have been sent to Germany but were later confiscated and stored in the museum.

The specialty of Sowang wood is that it is only found in the Cycloop Mountains of Papua. This plant is known for its ability to withstand fire, for example, during a fire. Even the wood is waterproof, so it is often used as a pillar for houses by people who live on the coast. The more submerged in water, the Sowang wood will be even more complicated.

Sowang wood is essential for coastal communities because it is used in ritual activities, making traditional weapons, as poles and fences for houses, and even firewood. Unfortunately, Sowang wood has a low regeneration power. With the launch of Mongabay.co.id, its growth in the Cycloop Mountains is also uneven, and it is now at risk of extinction.

In this museum are musical instruments from various tribes in Papua, such as drums, trumpets, bass stands, and other instruments.

Hendriko, a lecturer in Anthropology at Cenderawasih University, said that other cultural equipment could produce sounds. These objects correlate with music. Walsa Tribe in Waris own cultural objects that can create sounds, such as koteka and belts, Hendriko stated. When moved, these objects will make a sound, likewise with cultural things in the Wagete Paniai area.

“These are Papua culture that in certain areas which when used will create sounds or sounds, so they can create music,” he said.

Skull is Also Part of Papua Culture

The museum still contains several human skulls. There are approximately four human skulls in the collection. The skulls of victors or enemies often displayed in bunches at the front door of family residences, according to Hendriko.

Preserving Papua Culture Through Loka Museum

“All the jawbones of the former enemy’s head are always removed and given to women who are used to hang their necklaces,” said Hendriko.

According to Hendriko, skulls in several villages or hamlets are red, white, and black. They came with a cassowary symbol on their foreheads. The eyes of these skulls are fill with beeswax with bronze and red Abrus seeds and a few shells. Some of these skull collections are now one Papua culture stored in the oldest museum.

A Visit to the Loka Museum

This oldest museum is in a very strategic location. No wonder there are visits from various parties every day to see firsthand the thousands of cultural collections on display. Some visitors come from local communities in Papua. There are also domestic and foreign tourists. Researchers often visit the museum, established 52 years ago, which is also a busy center for research.

Address: Jl. Sentani – Abepura, Jayapura, Propinsi Papua, Phone: (0967) 581224

Email: MuseumUncen@yahoo.com

Website: MuseumUncen.blogspot.com

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