Tombak Asmat
Traditional Weapon

Tombak Asmat Papua – Irian Jaya

Tombak Asmat is a critical spear used for hunting and combat for people in Papua. Unlike most tribes in Indonesia, people in Papua doesn’t depend so much on dagger or cleaver while hunting. Instead, they depend on spear. They have a specialized skill on distant range kill. That’s why they choose to throw spear in order to kill the beast.

The Use of Tombak Asmat

Almost every tribe in Papua live from consuming deer. Apart from the great population of deer, people has been disturbed by deer colony since long time ago. Those colonies often pass the tribe are and break their farm and land. That to be said, those deer must be killed. It is a great advantage that those deer can also be eaten.

While hunting, people will use many different kind of spear. Actually, this spear is a customizable weapon which is made based on one person need and ability. There are so many variations of sharpness and length. The spear head is also made in many variations. But, mostly they are made of iron or stone.

The Shape

As a customizable weapon, Tombak Asmat has tens of shape for the head. Those shapes depend upon how it will be used in the future. For example, if the spear will be used to hunt elephants, the head is made of sharpened wood. But, there is also another spear specialized for killing crocs. That spear has a sharp iron head as it has to be strong enough to penetrate the crocs skin.

There are other variations of spear, such as jagged head. This type of head also has a sub variations depend on how close each jag is. The best choice depends on what to kill with that spear.

If one choose to hunt fish, the spear with thin head and thin handle is the best choice. For that kind of spear can penetrate deep and fast under water.

In short, there countless shape of Tombak Asmat as it highly depends on the user preference. Therefore, it becomes impossible to mention them each by each.

In order to fulfill the need of hunting, the spear head is also made in different number of side. There are one sharpened side, two, or even three. That, once again, depends on what they might use it for.

To make it safe while unused, people in Papua usually cover the head with bird’s beak or Kasuari’s claw.

The Size of spear

The variation in size may not be countless as the shape. The spear length varies between 1 to 3 meters. The small handled spear is used for hunting in the water, except crocs. On the other hand, the long one is used to put beast, including crocs, to death.

They don’t usually throw the long spear. Instead, the length is the handle is an advantage for close range kill. With a long handle, hunters can keep their distance from the beast that might fight them back.

The medium spear is used for throw kill. It can go as far as 70 meters once it’s thrown. The medium spear is usually made of lightweight wood for the handle. While the head is made of light metal.



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