Types of Papuan Traditional Houses and Their Uniqueness

Papua is the easternmost region of Indonesia which is famous for its natural beauty. However, this time we will not discuss the beauty of Raja Ampat or its blue ocean, but about the uniqueness of Papuan traditional houses.

Papua has a variety of indigenous tribes, which makes this area have various forms of traditional houses. Not only honai traditional houses, there are still several other traditional houses, which are no less unique in Papua

Types of Papuan Traditional Houses

Curious about what the unique papua and West Papua provincial traditional houses are like? Let’s look at the following summary.

1. Honai House

The Papuan traditional house that most often appears in textbooks is the Honai house, which is inhabited by the Dani tribe.

The walls of this building form a circle, which is made of strong woods and arranged parallel. Usually, Honai houses are equipped with only one windowless door with a height of 2.5 meters and a width of 5 meters.

The roof of Honai’s house is made of piles of sago leaves, thatch, and thatch that uniquely form a blunt cone. This aims to keep the house warm, as well as prevent rainwater from falling directly into the house.

As the name implies, Honai has a special meaning. ‘Hun’ means male, and ‘ai’ means home. Then it is no wonder that this house is exclusively for men, especially those who have grown up.

The house is empty without furniture. So, when guests come they will sit on the thatched floor with the host. This is a form of togetherness and kinship of the Papuan people.

In addition, this small house can fit 5-6 people in it. Usually, this house is in the cold mountains of Papua. The narrower it is and the more residents in the house, the better it will be in warding off the cold.

To further add warmth, each house also has a bonfire kiln.

2. Kariwari House

Kariwari is a Papuan traditional house inhabited by the Tobati-Enggros tribe. This traditional house has the shape of an octagonal roof, which is three-story and is believed to be able to keep the house from cold weather, especially during strong winds.

The first floor serves as a place to train severe teenage boys to be ready to become adult males, who are responsible, skilled, and strong.

The second floor serves as a meeting place for traditional heads to talk about important matters. While the third floor, specifically becomes a place of worship to God and ancestors.

In addition, the shape of the roof of Kariwari’s house also symbolizes the closeness to the creator or to the ancestors who have preceded them. No wonder kariwari house is often a place of education and worship.

3. Jew’s House

The Asmat tribe is famous for having many tribesmen. No wonder the traditional house of the Asmat tribe or known as Jew, has a large shape with a length of 15 meters and a width of 10 meters.

Usually, this traditional house utilizes selected rattan roots to unite the foundation wood of the house.

The Jew traditional house is also often referred to as a bachelor’s house because it can only be lived in by unmarried men. Boys who are not yet 10 years old and women should not enter it.

Well, the Jew traditional house will be a place for bachelors to learn from seniors or married men. They usually practice skills and education, such as dancing, dancing, and playing music.

4. Ebei House

The Ebei traditional house is the opposite of the Honai house because it was made specifically for dani tribal women.

Little boys can stay here, hany until they grow into adult men, who are ready to move into Honai’s house.

Ebei means the female body, which has the philosophy of being the body of life for everyone before being born into the world.

Hence, Ebei’s house became a place to learn to be a good wife and mother for women who grew up and were ready to get married. In this house, they learned to sew, cook, make handicrafts and more.

Honai and Ebei houses have a similar shape, that is, they form a circle. The meaning of these two houses is one whole and oneness in the same thought. This traditional house is also a symbol of dignity and dignity for the Dani tribe.

5. Hunila House

Another dani tribe’s traditional house is the Hunila house. The building of this house has a long shape and is wider than other traditional houses. This traditional house is widely used to store various cooking utensils and groceries.

Usually, the Hunila house becomes a shared soup kitchen between several Honai and Ebei houses, to carry out food production for the whole house.

The foodstuffs they often process are sago and yam. Once mature, they will deliver it to their respective families and Pilamo (adult males).

6. Wamai House

The Dani tribe is indeed an endless discussion. In addition to the special house for men and women, this time they have a special house for farm animals called wamai house. Inside this house, it usually contains farm animals, such as, chickens, goats, pigs, and dogs.

However, unlike other residential houses that are always in the form of a circle. Wamai houses are shaped more flexibly, starting from a circle or rectangle. This adjusts to the number of animals that will enter it.

7. Rumsram House

The Rumsram traditional house is a traditional house located in the northern coastal area of Papua belonging to the Biak Numfor tribe.

Just like Kariwari’s house, this house is not a place to live but a special place of study for both men.

The building is rectangular in shape with the roof forming an inverted boat. This is to symbolize the livelihood of the local people, the majority of whom are sailors.

The house with a height of up to 6-8 meters is made of water bamboo, sago fronds, bark and leaves of the sago tree.

8. Tree house

Different from other indigenous tribes, the indigenous Papuan inland tribe, the Korowai tribe, chose to make a traditional house on a tree, which is more familiarly called a tree house.

Located at an altitude of 15-50 meters, the house is aimed at avoiding wild animals and the interference of evil spirits called “Laleo”.

Laleo is an evil creature or cruel demon, which resembles a corpse that walks at night.

9. Millipede house

The millipede house or also known as Mod Aki Aksa is a traditional house owned by the Arfak tribe in West Papua.

This building has so many foundation poles that it looks similar to millipede animals. At first glance, it looks like a stilt house, but this custom house does not have adequate space at the bottom.

The millipede custom house is made of wood, which crosses each other vertically. While horizontally, the wood will tie each other. The roof of the building is made of thatch grass and the floor of the house is made of wicker rattan.

Well, those were the kinds of Papuan traditional houses, along with their uniqueness to increase your knowledge of this area that is rich in natural beauty.

For those of you who may like unique house designs, such as provincial traditional houses in Indonesia, you can make them modernly.