Noken multifunctional knotted or woven bag, handcraft of the people of Papua UNESCO Marks

ICH Domain Oral traditions and representations, Performing Arts, Social practices, rituals, festive events, Knowledge and practices about nature and the universe, Traditional craft skills, Urgent Safeguarding List
Name of UNESCO List Urgent Safeguarding List
Type of UNESCO List
Incribed year in UNESCO List
Safeguarding Policy · Article 32 of the 1945 Constitution, which states that the State shall advance Indonesia’s national culture amongst world civilization, guaranteeing freedom of the community to maintain and develop their cultural values; · Act No. 5 of the year 1992 concerning the Cultural Property; · Presidential Regulation of the Republic Indonesia No. 78 of the year 2007 concerning Acceptance of the Convention for the Safeguading of the Intangible Cultural Heritage; · Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Culture and Tourism and the Department of Justice and Human Rights No. PKS.46/KS.001/MKP/07 and No. M-12.UM.06.07 concerning Safeguarding, Development and Utilization of Intellectual Property of Traditional Cultural expressions of the Indonesian Nationals; and Joint Ministers’ Declaration of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism No. 42 and No. 40 of the year 2009 concerning Guidelines on the Safeguarding of Culture. 
Location (Address) Noken handcraft in its various forms is found among the people spread among the seven areas of traditional customs of Papua: Mamta, Saireri, Domberai, Bomberai, Ha-Anim, La-Pago dan Me-Pago. (Reference: Council of Traditional Customs of Papua). in the Provinces of Papua and West Papua, Indonesia.
Section/Division in Charge Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare (Fokal Point) - Deputy Minister for Coordination in the Fields of Culture, Tourism, Youth and Sports, Assistant Deputy for Cultural Affairs · Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Directorate General for Multilateral Affairs - Directorate for Social and Cultural Afffairs and International Organizations for Developing Countries · Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Directorate General for Cultural Values, Arts and Film - Directorate of Traditions - Directorate of Arts - Direktorate for Belief in the One Supreme God - Technical Executive Units, Offices for Safeguarding of History and Traditional Values - Directorate Jeneral for History and Archeology - Directorate for Historical Values - Resources Development Board for Culture and Tourism - Centre for Research and Development of Culture  
Summary Noken is a knotted net bag or woven bag made from wood fibre or leaves, sometimes coloured and decorated. Noken is a traditional handcraft of all communities of Papua and West Papua Provinces, Indonesia. The day-to-day function of large size noken is for carrying plantation produce, catch from the sea or lake, wood, babies, small animals, shopping, etc., and for hanging at home to store things. Small size noken is for carrying personal effects such as betel nut, food, books, etc. Noken may be used to cover the head or body. For nearly all (275/311) respondents, noken is an accessory to their traditional dress, and according to most (290/311) is used in traditional ceremonies or celebrations, such as marriage proposals, marriage ceremonies, initiation of children, appointment of community leaders, welcoming guests and for keeping sacred heirlooms.. Among mountain communities, noken had been given along with other presentations to make peace between disputing parties (Alex Hessegem, Deputy Governor of Papua, Interview, Jayapura 8/2/2011). Drs. H. Rahimin Katjong, Deputy Governor of West Papua, recalled wearing a small noken containing betel nut etc at the time of his appointment as a traditional community leader at Fak Fak, West Papua (Interview, Manokwari, 18/2/11).  Nearly all (276/311) respondents explained that noken is used by all age groups, and most (282/311) observed that noken is used by both sexes. As soon as babies learn to walk, their mothers give them a small noken containing food such as sweet potatoes, thus instilling the habit of carrying one’s own needs, which may also be used to help others, inside a noken which is always close at hand. (Titus Pekei, Interview, Enarotali, 9/2/11).Three quarters of respondents (235/311) said that noken is generally made by women-- ”the Mamas of Papua”--usually adults according to most respondents (250/311). Women thus play a special role in safeguarding noken culture. At Epouto village in Paniai District, we found male orchid-noken craftsmen.  Asmat community men also make noken. Most craftspersons make noken in their spare time from agriculture, fishing, and household duties, though some make noken full time. Noken making goes on yearround, but will increase in times leading up to traditional festivals. The method of making noken varies between communities. A basic outline is as follows. Branches or stems or bark of certain small trees or shrubs are cut, sometimes heated over a fire, and soaked in water for some days. After soaking, only wood fibre remains. The Dani/Hugula in Wamena peel bark from sticks of certain trees and then beat the sticks till only fibres remain. The wood fibre is dried, and then spun with the palm of the hand on the thigh of the craftsperson to make a strong thread or string, which is sometimes coloured using natural dyes. This string is knotted by hand to make net bags with various patterns and sizes. The same technique is used to make vests, hats, belts, etc.. In Paniai District we find noken interwoven with special decoration made from fibres from yellow, brown and black. orchid stems.  Besides knotting, there are communities which make noken by weaving tree bark, wood fibre, pandan leaf, young sago leaf, or grass from swamps. Some select grasses with contrasting colours (Inanwatan, Metemani, Kais and Kokoda (Imeko) communities). Maybrat community craftspersons colour the fibres with natural colours. The fibres, leaves or grass are woven in various attractive patterns with symbolic meanings. To make noken requires great manual skill, care, artistic sense and inner satisfaction. Craftspersons often make noken while singing traditional songs of Papua. To become proficient in making noken takes up to several months of informal training. A skilled noken craftsperson will be much appreciated within her (or his) community. The diversity of making, wearing and use of noken continues to develop and be recreated as the response of the people of Papua to nature and their environment..  Nearly all respondents (296/311) said that forms, patterns, local motifs and colours of noken made by each ethnic community in Papua differ, indicating cultural diversity. Noken is part of the cultural identity of each ethnic community and of the people of Papua. Prominent people in the community sometimes wear noken with special patterns and ornaments, indicating their social status (Alex Hessegem, Interview, ibid). Practically all respondents (294/311) explained that people learn to make noken from their parents. Young girls learn to make noken informally from their own mother or grandmother, or boys from their father or grandfather in the case of Mee or Asmat community members. Until now, this has been the method of transmission of noken culture. Very few respondents said that they had learned to make noken at school, as very few schools teach noken at present. The majority of respondents (289//311) acknowledge that noken is a part of the customs of their community, and most (292/311) stated that noken was part of their cultural heritage. Nearly all respondents (297/311) considered that noken was related to the life views of the people of Papua. Some examples mentioned were self-reliance and the habit of helping others. (Pekei, Interview, ibid), Noken is referred to as a ”moving house” which contains all needs (Tekege, Mikael,, Father, Interview, Epouto, 11/2/11) Noken is considered a symbol of female fertility, a good life, and peace.  Nearly all respondents (300/311) stated that if they wore or made noken, they felt they were carrying on the tradition of their forefathers. Many people of Papua who live outside Papua still carry their noken, which may have been made by their own mother, to remember their family, their village and their place of birth. (Pekei, Interview, ibid).  Noken culture does not contravene international instruments on human rights, or sustainable development.  Noken may be worn or used by anyone, and is often given as a sign of friendship, and even as a gift to create peace. All respondents (311/311) explained that noken is traditionally made from wood fibre, grass or leaves which grow easily, so their harvesting does not damage the environment.
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