NOKEN AS TRADITIONAL BAG OF RAJA AMPAT
Camshaft or tote is a cultural heritage that is very famous from Raja Ampat, Papua. This tote is made and has been passed down from generation to generation in Raja Ampat people.
Noken generally are used by people of Papua to bring agricultural products such as vegetables, tubers and also merchandise to their local market. Nokens is made from tree bark fiber Manduam, Nawa tree or forest orchids woven and knitted into yarn tote. However, along with the times, camshaft also made of knitted yarn colorful mattress. Its size also varies, there are small, medium, and large sizes. Most motifs contain elements of indigenous Papuan noken.
Large nokens are used to carry items such as firewood, crop yields, grocery items, or even used for carrying children. While the small size is used to carry personal items. The unique thing is nokens also functioned as a gift for guests and used in ceremonies in Raja Ampat society.
How to use this bag is unique, by hanging in front of head (forehead) and hang it back towards body back over shoulder. In addition to the amount that can be worn, some women even bring more than one camshaft hung around her neck. Usually this noken nested on the back so as not overlapping and weight.
What is interesting about this is the only Papuans are allowed to make nokens. The making of noken itself could symbolize the woman’s maturity. Because if the Papuan women can not make nokens she can not be considered as an adult and it is also requirement for marriage. And the way of making this bag is inherited from generation to generation.
Another interesting point of this traditional bag is that only women are allowed to make. Papuan women who have not been able to make noken often considered immature and not ready to be married. Why men should not make these? Since the camshaft is a symbol of fertility source womb of a woman.
Since December 4, 2012, noken was decided as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO in France by Arley Gill as Chairman of the Committee, which aims to protect and preserve the culture of Papua. And is used by 200 tribes in Papua as a multi-functional bag.
This is the pride of the people from Papua not to be inferior to people from other areas. This cultural heritage continues to be preserved and cared for by the people of Papua to be the intangible cultural heritage and is expected will not extinct by the younger generation.
Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort provides package tour to a nearby village to invite local and foreign guests to see closely the process of making those camshaft bags. Besides, Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort also provides training in Wawiyai village for housewives on how to make souvenir such as photo frames from shells, mirror frames and others. This is one of many ways Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort contributes to maintain the local culture from Raja Ampat, Papua.