Introduction<br /><ul><li>The islands in the Pacific Ocean are among the oldest inhabited places and some of the newest inhabited places on Earth.
The four distinct areas are: Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
The arts in these diverse regions show a link in the community’s ritual and religious life.
Not only did these cultures practice the visual arts but they expressed themselves in music, dance, and oral literature. </li></li></ul><li>AUSTRALIA<br /><ul><li>The nomadic hunter-gatherer inhabitants of Australia were known as Aborigines.
They held a high belief of the concept of the Dreamtime. The Dreamtime consists of many parts. It is essentially the period before humans existed or the time of creation.
Once the world was created the spirits that had created it went back to sleep. Though their power can still be seen from time to time. (EX: Monsoons) The time that they awoke from their sleep before the world was created is known as Dreamtime.
Each human and animal was thought to have two souls: one mortal and the other immortal.
Aboriginal painting’s main goal is to restore contact with the Dreamtime. They displayed lots of mythology on their art.
To the North of Australia some of the earliest artworks were found in Arnhem Land.
A traditional characteristic seen in aboriginal art is the x-ray style.
X-ray style is when an artist would draw the bones and various organs over a silhouetted animal body form.
Example of x-ray style art in book on page 900</li></li></ul><li>Example of the X-Ray StyleMimis and KangarooPrehistoric rock art, Arnhem Land, Australia. Older Painting Red and yellow ocher and white pipe clay.<br /><ul><li>The kangaroo is fully drawn with symmetrical ears.
It’s body is outlined and has organs like the heart and spinal cord drawn in (x-ray style).
Skinny stick like human figures in background are called mimis.
Mimis –ancestral spirits</li></li></ul><li>Bark Painting<br />The tribes people of Arnhem Land recorded myths, traditions, rituals on the bark that had been stripped from eucalyptus trees.<br />In Western Arnhem Land bark painters were using the x-ray style.<br /> In Eastern Arnhem Land the bark painters like the Yolungu-speakers (the people that inhabit the Northeast of Arnhem Land), used a style based on ritual body art.<br />They would never fully tell the meaning of a painting to an outsider.<br />Example of a modern bark painting is on page 901 in the book.<br />Example of Bark PaintingHistorical Bark Paintings Collected by Baldwin Spencer in 1912<br />
Mithinarri GurruwiwiGreat Snake Legend1962Natural Earth Pigments on Eucalyptus Bark<br />Painting is of Garimala, a wide billabong (dead-end channel extending from the main stream of a river) in Galpu clan country, north of Blue Mud Bay. <br />Billabong was crossed by Wititj, the great Dhuwa moiety serpent. (the Yolungu people divided into two moieties/groups : Dhuwa and Yirritja)<br />Wititj (olive snake)swallowed the Wawilak Sisters (two powerful pregnant woman that were heroines in aborigine folklore.)<br />The background has the Galpu clan design which represents reflections of the water surface.<br />Wititji is seen moving across the waterhole hiding underneath the lily flowers.<br />Djaykung, a file snake, is at the top, swimming, it’s body full with eggs.<br />
Melanesia<br />The people of Melanesia lived in permanent settlements due to the reliance on agriculture.<br />Like seen in Australia, Melanesian art displayed the beliefs of the people. <br />Women were not allowed to take part in rituals or ritual arts. Instead they spent their time making goods such as bark cloth(tapa).<br />When making a tapa the inner bark of a mulberry tree was used in small strips that were made malleable through constant soakings. <br />The strips were then placed in a pattern and beaten in order so they would fuse them together.<br />Designs were later added by paint and stenciling.<br />The cloth then resulted in a geometric pattern.<br />
Examples of various bark cloths and people making bark cloths.<br />
Lapita People<br />The Lapita people spread throughout Melanesia during around 1500 BCE.<br />They were farmers and fishermen.<br />The grew taro(tropical Asian plant) and yams. They brought with them dogs, pigs, and chickens.<br />They created and carried with them ceramics.<br />These ceramics helped today’s society trace where they traveled.<br />Lapita potters made dishes, platters, bowls, and jars.<br />They covered their wares with a red slip(liquid clay).<br />They decorated with geometric designs such as dots, lines, and hatching. <br />Over time the Lapita culture has been lost. It evolved into other cultures. <br />Traces of its culture can be found in Melanesia and Polynesia.<br />The Lapita Jar Fragments on the rightis on Page 898. <br />It displays a face.<br />This is the earliest representation of a human face in Oceanic art.<br />
New Guinea<br />New Guinea is an island in Melanesia.<br />It is the largest island on the pacific.<br />Today it is divided between two countries. Eastern half is part of Papua New Guinea. Western half is Irian Jaya ( a province in Indonesia).<br />The inhabitants lived in a variety of environments such as marshes, grasslands, rain forests, and swampy river valleys.<br />
The Abelams<br />The people who live on the foothills of the mountains on the North area on Papua New Guinea are called the Abelam.<br />They raise pigs, grow yams, taro, bananas, and sago palms. <br />The Abelams live in clans or otherwise known as extended families.<br />In these hamlets (small settlements) they have sleeping houses, cooking houses, storehouses, rituals spaces, and a tamberan house.<br />
Tamberan House<br />Tamberan house- a meeting place where the men of the village go to discuss community business.<br />The workmanship of the tamberan house, condition of yams, and the number of pigs determines the wealth of a village.<br />Tamberan houses were built with a triangular floor plan. <br />They are constructed on a frame of poles and rafters.<br />The side walls meet at the back of the building.<br />The façade is painted and carved with elaborate designs.<br />Abelams believed that paint had magical qualities. They would ritually repaint the images for good luck.<br />During the construction of the tamberan house every step contains a ceremony. These ceremonies take place at night while the women and boys are still asleep. <br />Once the house is completed women are allowed to enter the house and the clan celebrates with a fertility ritual.<br />
Exterior of Tamberan HouseKinbangwa village, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea, New Guinea, Belam, 20th century, Carved and Painted wood, with ocher pigments on clay ground. Page 903<br />Built in 1961.<br />Has red, ocher, white, and black faces of male spirits which make up the bottom and middle rows of the façade. <br />The figure at the top is supposed to represent a flying female witch. It is associated with the feminine power of the house.<br />At the top of the house a pole is projecting. It is the only male element of the house and is said to be the penis of the house.<br />On the right is a door which is a symbolic female element. It is the womb and the entering and exiting of the house represent death and rebirth.<br />
The Asmats<br />The Asmats live on the grasslands on the Southwest coast.<br />They were known as warriors and headhunters(practice of taking someone's head after killing them).<br />They believed that their were powerful forces in the universe and that these forces should be honored and celebrated.<br />They referred to trees as human beings and that the fruit were the human heads.<br />Birds that eat fruits were thus referred to as headhunters and were represented in war and mortuary arts.<br />They also represented the praying mantis because the female would bite the head off of the male while mating.<br />
Ancestral Spirit Poles<br />Asmats created memorial poles to honor the dead.<br />They called mbis.<br />They believed that the mbis(sprit poles) housed the souls of the dead. So they placed them in front of the men’s house so the souls can see the rituals taking place there.<br />After mbis ceremonies the poles are left alone to deteriorate.<br />A long time ago, once the poles were carved, the villagers would go headhunting and get an enemy’s head and place it at the base of the pole.<br />The base of the poles represents the twisting roots of the banyan tree.<br />Above the base there are figures that represent tribal ancestors that are supporting the figure of the recent dead.<br />The bent pose of the figures represents the praying mantis. There are also birds shown breaking nuts. <br />At the top coming out of the figures are large and lace like phalluses (penises) that represent male fertility.<br />The intricate designs in the surface represents tattoos and scarification(patterned scars) which was a common body decoration in Melanesia.<br />Example of Spirit Pole in book on page 903.<br />
Asmat People, Bisj Poles, early 20th century, wood, New Guinea<br />Poles are tall and slender. They are cut from mangrove trees.<br /> Figures are layered one atop of another. They all represent the dead.<br />They believed that death was not natural and was cause by an enemy through evil spells.<br />
Left: Asmat Bisj Poles, Buepis village, Fajit River,Casuarina Coast, Irian Jaya, Melanesia, early to mid-20th century<br />Below: Ancestor Poles(Bis) Asmat people, Omadesep village, Faretsj River, southwest New Guinea, Papua(Irian Jaya) province, Indonesia, mid- 20th century<br />More Examples of Spirit Poles<br />
New Ireland<br />New Ireland is an island in Melanesia and apart of the nation of Papua New Guinea.<br />The Northerners practiced complex cultural traditional ceremonies known as malanggan. They would have these ceremonies for funerals in order to honor the dead.<br />Malanggan ceremonies involve the whole community.<br />Preparations are hidden from women and children but they are allowed to participate.<br />They would make malanggan carvings for these events which would later be displayed.<br />These carvings include freestanding sculpture, figures on poles, masks for dancing, and other ritual dance equipment.<br />
Tatanua Dance Masks<br />An important aspect of the malanggan is the dance called the tatanua and it commemorates the dead.<br />The term tatanua is used to refer to the dance as well as the masks worn by the dancers.<br />The Tatanua dance masks represent one of the three souls of the dead. <br />These masks are carved and painted with designs.<br />The colors used in painting all have meanings and a specific order. First lime white for magic, then red ocher to recall the spirits of those who died violently, then black from charcoal or burned nuts which represents warfare, and then yellow and blue extracted from vegetables.<br />The masks sides are different colors which let the dancers to change their appearance when they turn side to side. <br />A good performance equals strength. If it’s a bad performance or someone makes a mistake that causes laughter then that equals humility.<br />
Left: Tatanua Mask, New Ireland wood, shells, vegetable fiber, and limeRight: Tatanua Mask, Malanggan culture, New Ireland, Melanesia, 20th century. Carved and painted wood, dyed fiber, yarn, tin disks, and glass.<br />
Micronesia<br />Micronesia’s islands are small and have low lying coral atolls(below normal altitude and surrounded by reefs).<br />Some of the islands are created by volcanoes.<br />The island of Pohnpei has one of the largest stone architectural structure in the Oceanic area.<br />Its is called Nan Madol and it is on the Southeast coast and has 92 artificial stone islands created within a network of canals covering 170 acres.<br />There are seawalls and breakwaters 15 feet high and 35 feet thick and they protect the complex from the ocean.<br /> This impressive site as built between 13th and 17th centuries. <br />The king of the region at the time ruled in the complex.<br />Once the dynasty declined the site had been abandoned then rediscovered by Europeans in the 19th century.<br />Another map on page 905<br />The Complex of Nan Madol<br />Phonpei, Federated States of Micronesia. C.1200/1300-c.1500-1600<br />
Nan Madol<br />Nan Madol was an administrative and ceremonial center.<br />Up to 1,000 people lived there at one time.<br />The kings at the time had it created.<br />The buildings and islands were built with pieces of stone and alternating layers of prismatic basalt(type of volcanic rock).<br />The royal mortuary compound is on the Southeast side of Nan Madol.<br />It has walls up to 25 feet.<br />The structure’s plan was to create progressively higher rectangles within rectangles that would lead to a central courtyard with a small cubical tomb.<br />Royal Mortuary Compound, Nan Madol<br />Phonpei, Federated States of Micronesia, Basalt blocks, wall height up to 25’ Page 905<br />
Wapepe Navigational ChartMarshall, Micronesia. 19th century. Sticks, coconut fiber, shells. Page 896<br />The Marshallese sailors of the Marshall Islands of Micronesia were great at navigation.<br />They would travel by canoe, for the islands were no more then 75 miles apart. <br />They understood the ocean currents and winds that helped them travel.<br />But for teaching younger generations navigating they created “stick charts”.<br />They were maps that included land, the path from one island to the next, and the water a sailor would cross during his voyage.<br />The currents were represented by the sticks held together by coconut fibers.<br />Shells would mark islands on the route.<br />The stick chart would be called a mattang or wapepe.<br />Page 896<br />
Polynesia<br />Polynesia was the last area in the Pacific have been settled by humans and the last place to be colonized by Europeans.<br />Polynesia had distinct and complex cultural traditions.<br />Polynesian art was an indicator on one’s rank and status.<br />Because of its value Polynesian art was handed down as heirlooms throughout the different generations.<br />English captain, James Cook, made three voyages to the pacific in the 1760s and 1770s. His expeditions mapped the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, both islands of New Zealand, and founded the Islands of Hawaii.<br />European contact obstructed Polynesian art and culture. <br />They took objects of cultural significance while misunderstanding them they took them back to Europe and North America.<br />They made their artwork into commercial trinkets for tourists taking them out of their original context.<br />
Easter Island<br />Easter Island is the most isolated island in Oceania.<br />It is 2,300 miles west of South America and 1,200 miles from Pitcairn Island.<br />There are three volcanoes at each corner of the triangle shape island.<br />The islands original name was Te Pito o te Henua (Navel of the World) but it was later known as Rapanui because of its resemblance to the island of Rapa. Today it is called Easter Island because it was found by Dutch explorer, Jacob Roggeveen on Easter Sunday 1722.<br />Easter Island is famous for its marae(stone temples) with ahu (stone alter platforms.<br />
Moai Ancestor FiguresAhu Nau Nau, Easter Island, Polynesiac. 1000-1500, restored 1978. Volcanic stone (tufa) average height approx. 36’ Page 907<br />Around 900 CE the inhabitants of the island erected huge stone figures on ahus .<br />It is believed that they are memorials to dead chiefs but this is speculation.<br />Around 1,000 figures have been found.<br />They are carved from tufa (a yellowish brown volcanic stone).<br />They are mostly 36 feet tall but on unfinished figure that was found measured up to 70 feet.<br />They have red tufa topknots and white coral eyes with stone as pupils. <br />Their features also consist of big eyes, pointed nose, pointed chin, and small mouth with pursed lips.<br />Their elongated earlobes suggest ear ornaments. <br />They have breastbones and small arms with hands but no feet.<br />The islanders stopped erected moai around 1500. They entered a period of warfare among themselves because of overpopulation and lack of resources. <br />The population at one point reached 10,000 but disease brought by Peruvian slave traders left about 600.<br />
Marquesas Islands<br />The first inhabitants of Easter Island were thought to have come from the Marquesas Islands which was 2,000 miles west.<br />The Marquesas Islands were made up of several volcanic islands. Only six of the islands were inhabited.<br />The natives were known for their warfare. They often resulted to cannibalism during it.<br />Contact with the outside world in 1595 destroyed the Marquesans. In 1800 population was 90,000 in 1930 it was 2,000.<br />Disease from outsiders killed many people.<br />They traditional way of life was fighting and war. Traditional fighting was hand to hand.<br />Warriors used regalia (emblems and symbols of royalty ex: crown) to convey their rank. <br />They would use a 5 foot long ironwood war club that was lavishly decorated with double sided face.<br />The face has high arching eyebrows with big eyes. The pupils are small faces.<br />The designs on the face suggest tattooing a popular art in Polynesia.<br />Page 909<br />War Club <br />Marquesas Islands, Polynesia. Early 19th century. Ironwood, length approx. 5’<br />
New Zealand<br />New Zealand was the last part of Polynesia to be settled.<br />The indigenous people are called the Maori.<br />When Captain Cook came on his first expedition (1769) to explore the coast one of the artists on board, Sydney Parkinson, drew scenes of everyday Maori life and art.<br />The picture on the right shows a Maori with moko(facial tattoos), a feather headdress, a comb, and a heitiki (a carved pendent of a human figure).<br />The heitiki represents a legendary hero who gained power from their association with powerful people. <br />The tiki in this picture has a tilted head with large inlaid shell eyes in a seated position.<br />Tattoos were very popular. Mean and women would get it done but they would have it done by somebody of their own gender. <br />Women would get tattooed around the mouth or chin and men would get tattooed on face and the lower body such as the waist and knees.<br />They had symmetrical and sometimes very personal designs.<br />In Maori mythology tattooing was brought from the underworld which was the realm of the Goddess of Childbirth. Hence, moko might have a birth-death symbolism that links the living to their ancestors.<br />Page 909<br />Sydney Parkinson<br />Portrait of a Maori 1769<br />Wash Drawing, later engraved and published as plate XVI in Parkinson’s Journal, 1773<br />
Carved Lintel<br />Maori are known for their wood carvings.<br />Their works consist a combination of massive underlying form with delicate surface ornament. <br />One of the earliest surviving Maori sculptures was a carved lintel probably collected by Captain Cook on his second voyage (1773). <br />Its place was over the doorway. It confirmed its power and prestige over its owners.<br />The central figure is a tiki. It is sticking its tongue out which adds a terrifying aspect. The tongue gesture id defiant and aggressive.<br />Its arms and legs are claw like. The tiki is clutching a whale or fish. Its eyes are made out of shells.<br />The wood is reddish brown which was produced by rubbing the surface with a red clay and shark liver oil mixture that acts as a waterproof.<br />Carved Lintel<br />New Zealand, Polynesia. Maori, 18th century.<br />Totara wood and haliotis shell. Page 910<br />
Maori Meetinghouse<br />Meetinghouse designs were a symbolic embodiment of an ancestor, whose spirit is enclosed in the structure.<br />Entering a meetinghouse is symbolically entering the deceased’s body. <br />Meetinghouses are meant to be entered with humility and deference.<br />The meeting house on the right was built by Rukupo as a memorial to his brother. <br />The house was used European metal tools but used the traditional technique of carving with stone tools.<br />The structure symbolizes the sky father. The ridgepole his backbone and rafters his ribs. The slanting bargeboards (boards attached to the projecting end of the gable) are his arms. On the peak of the roof is his head and face. <br />Relief figures of ancestors cover the support poles. Rukupo put in a portrait of himself as well. The ancestors support the house and want to participate in the discussions that take place there. <br />Lattice (interlacing panels) panels that were made by women fill spaces between wall planks. Women were not allowed in meeting houses so they worked form the outside and wove the panels from the back.<br />Raharuhi Rukupo, master carver<br />Te - Hau - Ki – Turanga (Maori Meetinghouse)<br />Manutuke Poverty Bay, New Zealand. 1842-1843, restored in 1935. Wood, shell, grass, flax, and pigments. Page 911<br />
Hawaiian Islands<br />Hawaii has been isolated from Polynesia starting around 1200 CE.<br />That soon ended in 1778 when Captain James Cook came and named them the Sandwich Islands after his patron , the Earl of Sandwich.<br />When Captain Cook arrived it was the same time of the celebration of the honor of the Hawaiian god Lono, so the Hawaiians thought of Cook as a messenger from that god.<br />In 1810 Kamehameha I joined together the islands into a unified kingdom. His family ruled until 1872 then Queen Lili’ uokalani got dethroned in 1893.<br />During the 19th century the United States influenced Hawaii and Hawaii’s traditional religion and culture declined. <br />Hawaii was annexed in 1898 and it became a state in 1959.<br />Like in Melanesia the Hawaiians made tapa. <br />The Hawaiian women’s dress consisted of tapa that wrapped around the body either above or below the waist. These garments were highly prized and considered a good diplomatic gift.<br />Decoration of tapa varied.<br />Skirt Originally belonging To Queen Kamamalu<br />Hawaii. 1823- 24. Paper Mulberry (wauke) bark, stamped patterns Page 912<br />
ModernOceanic Art<br />Contemporary artists in Oceania are adapting traditional themes and subjects to new mediums and techniques.<br />An example of this is the Aborigine artist in Australia. They are now using canvas and acrylic paint instead of the traditional mediums. <br />In the Man’s Love Story, Tjapaltjarri uses traditional patterns and colors. He has layers of lines and dots. <br />Though the painting seems abstract it is actually telling a story. Its about two mythical ancestors. One ancestor came to Papunya (small Australian community) in search of honey ants. The U shape on the left represents him in front of a water hole with an ant’s nest, represented by the circle. <br />He has a digging stick to his right and white sugary leaves on his left. There is a straight white “journey line” representing his journey from the west. .<br />The second ancestor is the brown U shape and came from the east. He sits down at a waterhole nearby. He begins to spin a hair string (a string made from human hair) on a spindle but he is distracted with thoughts on the woman he loved but could not marry for she belonged to a conflicting kinship group.<br />When she approached he dropped all of his string and lost his work. Four women that he's allowed to marry come and sit around the two men. <br />His painting looks like pointillism but this is not intentional.<br />Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri<br />Man’s Love Story<br />1978. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas.<br />