Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Shifting Values of Plaited Power

Weaving traditions used to make mats throughout the Pacific—makaloa from Hawai’i, i’e toga from Samoa, sese from Vanuatu, kabae (male dance mat) from Kiribati, jaki-ed from the Marshall Islands, as well as examples from the rainforests of Borneo, Philippines, and the Solomon Islands—are being highlighted in Shifting Values of Plaited Power, on view at the Honolulu Museum of Art through August 9, 2015. Drawn from the museum’s collection, the mats in the show highlight the region’s skilled weaving traditions. They are often ornamented with patterned, abstract designs or adorned with added fringe, feathers, or bits of yarn, each distinctive ethnic and regional identifiers. Respected and coveted as heirloom items, the common denominator between these weavings from far-flung islands is hand plaiting, done without a loom and originally made only of natural fibers such as pandanus (pandanus tectorius), rattan (calameae), and other sedge grasses.

Visit the exhibition's official website.

Mat  -  Borneo  -  Mid-20th century

Jaki-ed or nieded (woman's skirt)  -  Marshall Islands  -  19th-20th century
Images courtesy of the Honolulu Museum of Art

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