July 23, 2012
0287 INDONESIA (New Guinea) - Young warriors of Yali tribe
Yanita says that in Indonesia are (over) 300 tribes, and she is right. So far I have postcards with two of them, Dayak (from Borneo island) and Asmat (from New Guinea island), to whom is added this by now, Yali, also from New Guinea island, more precisely from Papua region, the Indonesian western half of the island. Therefore I need "only" still (over) 297 postcards to cover all native ethnic groups to this country. I don't think that I will manage to do so. Anyway, not in the next quarter century.
I talked briefly about Indonesia here, and about New Guinea island here, so I go straight to the point, i.e. Yali tribe. Yalis, who live to the east of the Baliem Valley, in a territory in the Papuan highlands known collectively as Yalimo, were discovered no sooner than in 1961. Their major settlements, Angguruk and Kosarek, are isolated from the rest of the world, the access being ensured mainly by air.
They are ranked among the pygmy negrits group, a mature man being scarcely taller than 150cm. Despite this, they belong to the most dreaded cannibals of this part of the island, and, even if they have never been head-hunters, they are respected and feared, because they totally destroyed their enemies. With no friendly ties between the tribes, in every valley the language developed in a different way. Even though they were the last tribe who were cannibals, today are very friendly and hospitable.
The mountain Yalis live in round huts, build from cut planks and roofs made of pandan leaves. Women and men live separately, women in their own houses (for understandable reasons), and men in community houses (honai). Traditionally men wear big rattan skirts (replaced in recent times, as you can see in the picture, with the strips of cloth) and kotekas (penis tubes made of gourd). The women wear small and short skirts made of grass, and their breasts are left bare. The skirt is made up of several layers, every four years being added a new one. When the number of layers reaches four, it means that the girl can marry. They wear also a bag, woven from vegetable fibers, which covers the back and butt. At the lowland Yalis the men wear only kotekas, and women have long skirts made of grass.
Their weapons are from stone age and consist of stone axes, thick bows, and arrowheads carved differently depending on purpose: a triple barb for birds, notched and tapered black for tribal disputes. They paint their bodies with stripes, serpentine lines and various designs in bright colors, which imitates the bird of paradise, in order to scare the enemies and protected themselves from harmful spirits.
About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the Birds of Indonesia series, issued on July 15, 2009, and consist of 6 stamps, all with the same value (2,500IDR)
1/6 Aceros corrugatus - it's on the postcard
2/6 Harpactes kasumba
3/6 Actenoides concretus
4/6 Cairina scutulata
5/6 Argusianus argus
6/6 Ciconia stormi
The second stamp belongs to the series Marine Life (issued on October 24, 2010, and designed by Dadan Rusdiana) and consist of 4 stamps depicting turtles, all with the same value (1,500IDR):
1/4 Ridley Turtle / Lepidochelus olivacea - it's on the postcard
2/4 Green Sea Turtle / Chelonia mydas
3/4 Leatherback turtle / Dermochelys coriacea
4/4 Hawksbill Turtle / Eretmocchelys imbricata
The third stamp is part of Flora and Fauna series, issued on November 5, 2010, and containing 11 stamps:
01/11 Gracula religiosa robusta & Cananga odorata (1,500IDR)
02/11 Panthera tigris sumatrae & Cyrtostachus renda (1,500IDR)
03/11 Helarctos malayanus & Amorphophallus titanum (1,500IDR)
04/11 Tarsius bancanus saltator & Palaquium rostratum (1,500IDR)
05/11 Haliastur indus & Salacca zalacca (1,000IDR) - it's on the postcard
06/11 Geopelia striata & Stelechocarpus burahol (1,000IDR)
07/11 Nasalis larvatus & Mangifera casturi (2,500IDR)
08/11 Aceros cassidix & Borassus flabellifer (2,500IDR)
09/11 Tarsius spectrum & Ficus minahassae (2,500IDR)
10/11 Semiopthera wallacii & Syzygium oromuticum (2,500IDR)
11/11 Cervus timorensis & Diospyros macrophylla (2,000IDR)
Yali Tribe - Papua pygmey cannibals - Papua Trekking
Yali Tribe - Papua, Irian Jaya - Travelling to Indonesia
Birds of Indonesia stamps series - Indonesia Stamps
Marine Life stamps series - Indonesia Stamps
Flora and Fauna stamps series - UPU official site
sender: Yanita Dwi Chairnani (direct swap)
sent from Bogor (Indonesia), on 02.05.2012
photo: Johannes Wadumuri