kapa kulture

This blog is dedicated to Hawaiian kapa and matters related to Hawai'i nei…kuku kapa e!

Archive for the category “Website Resources”

Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Aotearoa~New Zealand~

Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Aotearoa, New Zealand has an incredible collection of Pacific tapa on exhibit. The exhibition is on for 2 more days on site. Check out their awesome online tapa gallery by clicking on the link below!

tapa gallery

Info about the onsite exhibit here:

Tapa Exhibit, “Paperskin”
Te Papa

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Dyes & Designs in Samoan Siapo

Faʻa Samoa…In the Samoan Way…

Natural Dye
Dyes used in Samoan siapo come from nature. They are extracted or ground from nuts, tree bark, tree sap, roots, and seeds. There are five colors collected: oʻa is brown, lama is black, ago is yellow, loa is red, and soaʻa is purple. The traditional designs are symbols that reflect Samoan natural environment. There are 13 symbols used in siapo and they represent nets, coconut leaf and sennit, the trochus shell, pandanus blooms, pandanus leaves, breadfruit leaf, sandpiper bird designs, starfish, banana pod, rolled pandanus leaves, worm (this is almost extinct), centipede (which has been discontinued), and lastly, logologo (not found in modern siapo to the point that the meaning of this design has been lost). Original siapo artworks are made by combining these design elements (siapo.com).

Design Methods
There are two kinds of siapo design application methods practiced in Samoa and they are Siapo ʻElei (the rubbing method) and Siapo Mamanu (the freehand method). The Siapo ʻElei method leaves an imprint on the uʻa (bark cloth material). This is done by laying the uʻa on a design printing block that is carved into wood, called an upeti, and rubbing the uʻa with a swab that has been dipped in oʻa. Oʻa is a brown dye that is extracted from the bark of the Bishofia javanica, or blood tree. This is a pest in the Hawaiian Islands where it is known as the Bishop Tree or is called koko (blood). It is also called koko in Tonga and other island languages. The oʻa changes color over time from a pale tan to a rich, dark brown.

The next step in the process is to rub a red color over to define the design. Arrowroot plant is used as glue and is dabbed on any small holes, and then a second layer is placed on top and rubbing the oʻa is repeated, this time pressing the two layers together. Sections are joined using arrowroot and rubbing. This is usually the end of the process for large pieces known as ululima and uluselau. But for smaller pieces called vala, the design might be highlighted with more brown dye. Upeti in the older form was of both the sewn midrib variety as in Tongan kupesi, and also carved wood. Today, the men have been carving the upeti and have become the main artist of siapo ʻelei designs. However, they still base their designs on the traditional symbols. One upeti carving can yield many different imprints as dye can be applied to certain areas only to create an interesting design using the positive and negative space (Pacific Tapa, p. 16, 1997).

samoan-siapo-lau-laau

Siapo Mamanu is the freehand method of design and is creatively applied by hand using a dried pandanus brush, called a paogo. The design is created by the artist using black dye to sketch the design, and then the artist may choose to use a veriety of color to finish the piece (siapo.com)

These two methods of desing can also be combined to create unique artwork that is reinvented with each piece of uʻa. Siapo is one of the oldest art forms and symbols of Samoan culture. Used for clothing, burial shrouds, bed covers, ceremonial garments, and much more… (siapo.com)

Tapa Designs from the Kupesi of Tonga

Kupesi design tablets in Tonga are constructed by sewing coconut midribs onto a pandanus or coconut leaf sheath. This style of kupesi, which is still used today, is believed to have spread from Tonga to Fiji and Samoa, and beyond to other islands (tongabarkcloth.com).

The designs on Tongan ngatu are known for commemorating historical events in their motifs. Such memorable things in the life of Tongans as the introduction of bicycles, electric poles, and other historical events have been recorded in ngatu designs to document these occasions. Abstract and natural motifs are used. Ngatu ʻuli is black and used only for funerals, whereas ngatu tahina was lighter and used commonly.

Although ngatu is not worn as clothing anymore it is still highly valued. It continues to be a very important traditional koloa (treasure of women) and given as a gift item at ceremonies such as births, weddings, and funerals. It is given in amounts that make a statement about rank and social standing. This is an important facet of Tongan culture and has been recognized by scholars as part of the Tongan cultural system of gift exchange in a ceremonial economy.

Tongan Kupesi

Tongan Kupesi

Kupesi Print with Hand-painting Overlay

Kupesi Print with Hand-painting Overlay

Tongan Tapa: Ngatu

Ngatu is the name for tapa in the kingdom of Tonga. As is common among other bark cloth throughout Oceania, it is made from the paper mulberry or hiapo, the Hibiscus, or the breadfruit tree.

Ngatu is still manufactured in Tonga today in large amounts. Women work together in groups to pound out large sheets using a long log as the anvil on which to beat the fibers of the tree bark. This wooden anvil is called a tutua. The beater used to pound the inner bark fiber is called an ʻike. Small pieces, called fetaʻaki, are joined together to make the full sized ngatu. Joining the sheets is done simultaneously while applying the design. Kupesi are placed underneath the fetaʻaki. Kupesi are the design tablets that transfer a design motif to the ngatu. First the kupesi is rubbed with brown pigment from bark of the koka tree (Bischofia javanica). Arrowroot is used as paste to attach the fetaʻaki together. The next stage in the process after the first rubbing with brown dye is to rub the entire surface again putting a new layer of dye. This makes the patterned design of the kupesi emerge like rubbing on a coin. The rubbed layer can also be over-painted with darker colors for more definition in the design.

Eventually, the cloth will become stiff and water repellant from the process of joining, pasting, and rubbing, which continues until the piece becomes as large as needed. Usually ngatu can be made 50 to 100 feet long or even longer. Some pieces have been known to be one mile long (!) and are carried and presented by long lines of women who support it on either side.

Tongan tapa is ngatu

Tongan tapa is ngatu

Website Blog: Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa

Paperskin-large tapa @ Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

Paperskin-large tapa @ Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

Hawaiian Word of the Day: ʻumeke

ʻumeke: Bowl, calabash, circular vessel, as of wood or gourd. ʻUmeke kāʻeo, a well-filled calabash [a well-filled mind]. ʻUmeke pala ʻole, calabash without a dab [empty bowl, empty mind]. hoʻo.ʻumeke, hōʻumeke. To assume the shape of a bowl; to assume the shape of fruit, to bear fruit. Fig., to have enough to eat. E pua ana ka ʻōhiʻa ʻai a hōʻumeke i ka malama o Hinaiaʻeleʻele, the mountain apple blooms and fruits form in the month of Hinaiaʻeleʻele.

ipu umeke

ʻumeke ʻai: Poi bowl. Fig., source of food, of the uplands.
ʻumeke ipu kai: Bowl, as for serving meat or salty meat.
ʻumeke kepekepe: Bowl with horizontal flat panels. Lit., wedged bowl.
ʻumeke lāʻau: Wooden bowl.
ʻumeke mānaʻai: Very small bowl, as formerly used for poi by favorite children. Lit., poi mouth-fed bowl.
ʻumeke ʻōpaka: Bowl with vertical panels with vertical edges between them.
ʻumeke palapaʻa: Thick-bottomed wooden calabash. Lit., firm-dabbed bowl, perhaps so called because dabs of poi are held firm in this type of calabash that does not upset.
ʻumeke pāwehe: A decorated gourd bowl, as made on Niʻihau.
ʻumeke pōhue: Gourd calabash.

ipu-umeke

Photo found on the Kaʻahele Hawaiʻi Website. Click below to access more information on Hawaiian ipu and more resources for Hawaiian culture and arts.

Na Ipu O Hawaiʻi

Happenings @ the Kauaʻi Museum

I had the chance to do several demonstrations at the Kauaʻi Museum in April and May. It was interesting to get out in public and showcase the methods and processes of Hawaiian Kapa. My audiences were interested and asked many questions about involvement of youth, natural dyes, longevity of kapa cloth, relationships to other cultures, and more… There were some good discussions that got going. I used the opportunity to survey my audiences to understand better about the impressions kapa had on them. One surprising fact? 95% of people surveyed had no knowledge that Hawaiʻi was annexed to the United States in an illegal coup. Now that surprised me because if Hawaiʻi is indeed part of the U.S. it seems to me that U.S. History curriculum should include the story of the Hawaiian Kingdom in it’s course of study. Just saying…

Museum Poster for my Kapa Revival Project

Museum Poster for my Kapa Revival Project

The Kauaʻi Museum Website

Hawaiian Word of the Day: loko iʻa

loko iʻa: Fish pond.

Loko Iʻa ʻAlekoko also known as "Menehune Fishpond" on Kauaʻi

Loko Iʻa ʻAlekoko also known as “Menehune Fishpond” on Kauaʻi

Loko iʻa are ecosystems created by Hawaiians for subsistence fishing. One of the most noteworthy Hawaiian innovations in this system of aquaculture is the pani wai, or dam, sluice, levee, dike. Of these, the sluice gate to ponds was a masterful invention. It allows for the minnows or baby fish to swim in, grow large within the pond, reaching a size that is too large to swim out.

The Hawaiians’ irrigation system rotated water from streams and sometimes through hand built ʻauwai (canals), to irrigate crops in the lo’i (taro patches), then returned it to the stream of origin. This system relies on a steady natural flow of nutrients to course through the stream to the sea, helping limu (algae) to grow, and fish and lobster to feed. Hawaiians took advantage of these stream-nourished coastal areas and streams to build fishponds for bountiful harvests of food. Fishponds on some islands were as large as 48 acres in coastal areas.

Classification of fish ponds at coastal areas:
loko kuapa: fish pond made by building a wall on a reef
loko wai: freshwater pond or lake
loko iʻa kalo: combination fish pond and taro patch
loko ʻume iki: fishpond with lanes leading in and / or out, used for trapping fish

Classification of fish ponds at upland areas:
akuli: to dam a stream with leaves making a forest pool
mano: dam, stream or water source, headwaters, place where water is obstructed for distribution in channels. Mud dams were made for fish and crustaceans; fish shelters were built in mud shoals.

http://sheri-majewski-art-edu.webstarts.com/community_heritage_2.html

Kapa Revival Project

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Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina (The Eyes of the Land)…Hawaiian documentary and educational videos

http://www.hawaiianvoice.com/video-catalog/language/Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina, Eyes of the Land…Hawaiian documentary and educational videos

Education: Culture Matters…a video produced by Kamehameha Schools

Education: Culture Matters, a video produced by Kamehameha Schools

An intimate look at the heart of culture-based education and the indisputable evidence that children thrive in an environment that fosters a learning process they can relate to.

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