Asmat & Grand Baliem Valley
Papua is a tropical island of natural splendor with mighty rivers carving through the world’s second largest rain forest, over 2,700 species of orchids, scenic beaches, where snowcapped mountains tower over glacial lakes. Papua shelters many rare species of wildlife including the flightless cassowary and the fabulous bird of paradise. First visited by westerners in 1938 the Baliem Valley has been farmed for over 9,000 years. The first explorers mistook this lush valley for the mythical paradise of Shangri La. There are three main tribal peoples emerging from the Stone Age still practicing ancient rituals inhabiting the Baliem Valley, each with a distinct culture.
The Asmat tribe resides in an area of rugged untamed wilderness along the coast of Papua. Long notorious as headhunters and cannibals they are now renowned among primitive art experts as woodcarvers of the highest order. The relationship of the Asmat carver to wood is totally sacred. The Asmat believe that their creator carved their ancestors from trees and gave them the blessing of life. The artist strives to infuse each piece with the spirit energy of those ancestors creating a sacred bridge between the material and spirit worlds.