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Uniqueness Of Lesung From Asmat Tribe

Uniqueness Of Lesung From Asmat Tribe
The Asmat are tribes that live in swamps and their lives are very close to water. In carrying out their daily lives, Asmat has adapted to the water environment since the days of their ancestors. as well as their habits when moving from one place to another, they inevitably have to use water transportation. One of their unique traditions in transportation in the water is a mortar boat.

Lesung boat Asmat tribe is a very unique boat. This boat is made of one whole tree trunk that is formed into a boat. The wood used is usually taken from trees that are rarely used such as Ketapang or Bitanggur. so, after being cut down, the bark will be peeled clean and then the two ends of the stem will be sharpened. After the process, the tree trunk is ready to be formed into a boat.

The process of making a boat can take around 5 weeks if done in the traditional way. however, after the Asmat tribe recognized modern tools from iron, one boat could be done in just 1-2 weeks. First the wood will be smoothed, all the curved parts of the stem will be straightened so that the boat can run normally in the water. after smooth, the logs will be perforated to form a passenger place. Then, if a passenger space has been formed, all parts of the boat both outside and inside will be refined using snail skin. the boat has begun to look and the next process is to burn the bottom of the boat. This is done so that the boat becomes lighter when driving.

The final stage as an improvement is the stage of giving decoration. This decoration can be in the form of carving paintings on the wall outside the boat. This decoration is not a necessity, boats that are used daily are usually very minimal. .however, for the Asmat tribe the decoration of the Lesung boat has quite important meaning, because it can be interpreted as a link between those who are still alive with their ancestors who have long gone. they believe that in each painting or carving there is an image and appreciation for the greatness of the Asmat tribe that is offered to their ancestors.

related to the belief in these ancestors, it is not surprising for most Asmat tribes, there is usually a ceremony that is carried out after the boat is ready for use. In fact, there are some taboos when they make Lesung boats. the Asmat tribe believed that there should not be much noise when they made a boat. In addition, logs that have not touched the water should not be stepped on because it will make the rod difficult to move.

There are two types of mortar boats, which are family boats and clans for boats. boats for families are usually smaller, around 4-7 meters and can carry 2-5 people. Whereas for clan special boats, the size is around 10-20 meters longer and has up to 20 people. besides, the boat is also distinguished according to its function, there are boats that are used only for fishing, hunting or transportation, but there are also special boats that are used for war or long trips.

paddles, which are used are usually made of iron wood or nutmeg because of its durability. Paddle size is quite long because the Asmat tribe used to ride a boat in a standing position. They assume the standing position is in a standby position if at any time they are attacked by enemies or crocodiles. because of their preparedness, the paddles used are generally pointed ends so that they can be used as well as spears.

The Asmat people still maintain this tradition until now. they were very respectful of the existence of the Lesung boat because it helped a lot in the smooth running of their life activities. In addition, Lesung boat is a means of transportation that is very close to nature and their ancestors. as an Indonesian nation, we must protect and preserve this ancestral heritage. The culture of the Asmat tribe is one proof that Indonesia is a maritime nation that is rich in cultural and historical values.