Noken is a multifunctional knotted or woven bag native to the Papua. Its made of made of woven tree bark or orchid plant stems. Its distinctive usage, which involves being hung from the head, is traditionally used to carry various goods, and also children. In 2012, noken was listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists as a cultural heritage of Indonesia. Women carrying noken are still a common sight in Wamena.

In a number of remote villages in easternmost province of Papua, noken – instead of the usual ballot box – is preferred as a way to place ballots, where it is recognized as a ballot tool in the Papua regional leadership elections.



How is Noken done?

The method of making Noken varies between communities, but in general, branches, stems or bark of certain small trees or shrubs are cut, heated over a fire and soaked in water. The remaining wood fibre is dried then spun to make a strong thread or string, which is sometimes coloured using natural dyes. This string is knotted by hand to make net bags of various patterns and sizes. The process requires great manual skill, care and artistic sense, and takes several months to master.

Where does Noken come from?

Noken is a craft from