HANA NO`EAU:
Artful Excellence,
Art for Life’s Sake
TATAU
• The vast majority of what we know today
about traditional kakau has been passed down
through legends, songs, and r...
TAPA MAKING
•
•
•
•
•

Hawai`i – kapa
Sāmoa – siapo
Tonga – ngatu
Aotearoa – aute
Fiji – masi
TAPA MAKING
WEAVING IN SĀ MOA
• Traditionally made by
women
• Women beat the
pandanus (lauhala) leaves
into wafer-thin strips
• Tradit...
WEAVING IN TONGA
• Primary work of women
was to manufacture mats
and cloth for domestic and
ceremonial use
• Fine mats fri...
If you have any
questions, please
ask them on the
Discussion Board.
Mahalo!
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Pacific island hana noeau

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  • MASTER: Within Polynesian societies, the masters of various arts and skills were held in high esteem by the general population, including the sacred chiefs who ruled society.
    The master of tattooing was a highly trained individual, usually male, who was both knowledgeable of both literal and figurative meanings of motifs placements, and associated responsibilities or consequences
    In most cases, it was the master who determined what designs were appropriate, who could be tattooed and when
    The master would also instruct the subject on what protocols and prohibitions needed to be observed before proceeding with the tattoo. Whether it be fasting, a special diet, or refraining from certain activities that might affect or “taint” the person spiritually
    MOTIFS:
    Some design elements that were common throughout Polynesia were linear geometric motifs. Each of the geometric designs or lines and other symbols had multiple meanings based on placement on the body, incorporation with other designs, and the person being tattooed
    It was usually up to the master to determine what was appropriate for each person and to then explain the story to that person
    METHODS:
    Needles were often made of bird bone, turtle shell, bamboo or sometimes even shark teeth
    The tattooing itself was a process of multiple taps
    The implement used to cut the skin and inject the ink was similar in form to an adze, with needles mounted on the end of a wooden haft
    The soot from the burned candlenut (kukui) was collected and mixed with other liquids to produce the ink
  • The word “tapa” is used worldwide for barkcloth. As we learned the other week, in Hawai`i, it is known as kapa.
    In Sāmoa, it is referred to as siapo; in Tonga as ngatu; in Aotearoa as aute and in Fiji as masi.
    Around the world, tapa may be made from several different plants, but in the Pacific islands, the most commonly used plant is the paper mulberry (wauke).
    The early peoples who populated the Pacific brought cuttings of this plant with them in their canoes.
    Another source of tapa is the breadfruit (`ulu) tree, grown mainly for its fruit. The use of `ulu for tapa is only secondary to wauke.
    Throughout most of Polynesia, tapa making is a woman’s craft. However, in some parts of New Guinea, in the Marquesas Islands and in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), men also made tapa, especially for use on ritual objects such as masks, figures and loincloths.
    Within each culture that produces and uses it, tapa serves a wide range of purposes, both utilitarian and ceremonial.
    In some cultures, patterns on tapa represent symbols of clan allegiance or their source (when used as trade)
    Other cultures reserved kapa for ceremonial and ritual purposes, presenting it to honored guests, wearing special tapa clothing for festivals, making masks of tapa to parade through the villages, using tapa to wrap the images of their gods, and even to make images of the gods themselves.
  • The various techniques of making tapa in the Pacific are all variations of a central theme.
    Bark is stripped from the tree.
    The inner bark is separated from the outer bark, which is discarded.
    The inner bark is then beat with wooden beaters to spread the fibers
    Water may or may not be introduced at certain stages of this process
    In some cases, the fibers are soaked to soften them.
    To produce larger pieces, thin sheets can be layered and felted together during beating, gradually extending the size of the finished sheet
    This felting type of technique was more characteristic of tapa made in the islands of Eastern Polynesia.
    In Western Polynesia, larger runs of tapa were usually made by pasting sheets together at their edges using arrowroot (pia)
    Throughout the Pacific, wider variation developed regarding the different techniques for coloring and designing the kapa
    Some of the coloring and patterning techniques were carried out as part of the kapa making process, where other places applied color and designs to the completed plain sheet.
  • `Ie toga were kept for generations as the mat’s value increases with age.
    It would become a significant gift for the most important occasions – marriages, deaths or visits by distinguished guests
    An old, well-worn fine mat is given only to chiefs and very important dignitaries
    The quality of the `ie toga is judged by the fineness of the work, as well as the length of time it has been kept among important families
    Large distributions of fine mats were an essential part of public ceremonies. Those who aspired to the highest Sāmoan titles needed to accumulate old and sacred mats that symbolized the status they sough
  • Tongan sleeping mats and floor mats known as fala are woven from strips of pandanus (lauhala) leaves and then assembled from two layers joined together for extra strength.
    Two species of pandanus were used. One for coarse, tough sails and baskets; and another for finely woven sleeping mats.
    Fine mats were woven from a variety of materials, including the inner bark fiber of the fau tree.
    Decorative patterns were formed by dyeing certain strands different colors
  • Pacific island hana noeau

    1. 1. HANA NO`EAU: Artful Excellence, Art for Life’s Sake
    2. 2. TATAU • The vast majority of what we know today about traditional kakau has been passed down through legends, songs, and ritual ceremonies. • While each culture is unique, every Polynesian culture had similar traditions – The status of the master – General motifs used – Methods of application
    3. 3. TAPA MAKING • • • • • Hawai`i – kapa Sāmoa – siapo Tonga – ngatu Aotearoa – aute Fiji – masi
    4. 4. TAPA MAKING
    5. 5. WEAVING IN SĀ MOA • Traditionally made by women • Women beat the pandanus (lauhala) leaves into wafer-thin strips • Traditionally, a family’s most valuable possession is the fine mat known as `ie toga.
    6. 6. WEAVING IN TONGA • Primary work of women was to manufacture mats and cloth for domestic and ceremonial use • Fine mats fringed with red feathers are exchanged on important occasions • Mats are significant family heirlooms, gaining greater value with age
    7. 7. If you have any questions, please ask them on the Discussion Board. Mahalo!

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