Asmat artists first used their imagination to carve images of the spirits of people who had died. They believe that their carvings always contain or are filled with the spirits and characteristics of the people they depict. The facial features and shapes of these sculptures reflect the typical style of artists from a village, even the typical styles of individual artists within that village.

With the passage of time and cultural changes in society, artists began to create carvings depicting scenes of daily life experienced by society. They also created images depicting important figures from the past who were respected by society.

Today's Asmat sculptures consist of five different types, including traditional ancestor sculptures, ancestor sculptures, busts, openwork carvings, and panels, all of which reflect developments in their artistic expression.


These sculptures are icons that contain the spirits of deceased people. The figures are made of softwood with scratches, body parts, bones, joints and symbols painted in red or black on a white surface.


These sculptures depict scenes from the daily life and activities of the Asmat people, as well as scenes from myths or ceremonial events. These carvings have become increasingly complex in form and design and are generally made of hardwood. Initially, the surface of the sculpture was smoothed and the color darkened over time.

In the early 80's, the Bismam people began to take steps to color the sculptures by immersing them in mud for several days until they reached the desired depth of color. This dipping process changes the surface of the sculpture to brown and black. The artist then adds scratches, shapes body parts, and highlights certain areas with etching techniques to bring out the natural color of the wood and bring the work to life.


These sculptures represent ancestors and are often made of hardwood. Sometimes they also show the evolution of art through the improvement of traditional forms. Some sculptures have etchings depicting body parts, skeletal structures, and joints. Sculptures made of softwood are usually painted white with black and red markings. On the other hand, hardwood sculptures are never painted; their natural color darkens with age.


Ukiran panel adalah bentuk seni relief dan desain tradisional yang diaplikasikan pada permukaan papan kayu keras. Luas permukaan yang disediakan oleh papan ini lebih besar dibandingkan dengan ukiran tradisional. Hal ini memungkinkan seniman untuk lebih leluasa dalam menuangkan gambaran-gambaran dan meningkatkan tingkat kompleksitas karyanya. Karya-karya ukiran panel, baik di masa lalu maupun sekarang, diminati oleh para tamu pengunjung dan para pecinta seni. Para seniman terus mengembangkan minat masyarakat dengan terus melakukan inovasi dalam desain. Panel telah menjadi salah satu perkembangan paling sukses dalam seni Asmat kontemporer, karena menjadi objek seni yang sangat diminati oleh banyak orang.


This carving is a very unique innovation on iron wood. The images on these statues are very complex and intricate. Becembub, inspired by Father von Peij, MSC in the late 1950s, was a pioneer in this style of carving. Although some Becembub artists still create open work carvings, their works tend to be large and not as fine as the works of the artists from the 50's to the 80's. In the following period, however, Becembub artists began to develop openwork carvings depicting scenes from daily life or mythological scenes, as well as creating interesting storyboards.

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