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Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

In the Arts the Oldest are the Women's, those — Sacred to the Men are Newer

In the Arts the Oldest are the Women's, those
Sacred to the Men are Newer

(20) In the sphere of the arts the task is easier. For there we have two powerful solvents to help us in distinguishing the older and northern migrations from the last and southern. One is that whatsoever is done by women is the older; the other is that whatsoever is confined to men, or sacred, came in with the conquering aristocracy. By help of these we can see that all household arts, inclusive of a large section of the textile art and steam-cooking, are ancient, and belong to the northern route, whilst much of the net-making and some of the dyeing came in with the last-comers. Canoe-building and the maritime art belonged to the aristocracy; but in New Zealand they took from the peoples of the northern migrations the art of making the huge single dugout and the art of canoe-carving, both of which undoubtedly belonged to the North Pacific. In fact, we have to assume an artistic people in Japan before the Japanese, before the Ainos, who, when not subdued and absorbed, were driven out of the northern archipelago, and took the arts of carving and designing south into Polynesia, and thence farther south into New Zealand, Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, and Rapa-iti. The same people also took with them the art of fortification, both in stone and earthwork. Theirs, too, were probably the half-underground dwellings, though either they or some other migrants from the north brought the art of building great timber houses ornamented with carved work. One of the northern migrations brought the aute, or paper-mulberry tree from page 266Japan, to cultivate in Polynesia for its bast, and may have brought some of the methods of agriculture too, probably the primitive method of avoidance of animal manure, and that of shifting from patch to patch and burning down the scrub or bush. But the culture of edible bulbs came from South Asia, and, in all probability, the edible dog, the pig, and the domestic fowl. And the healing art, as it finally existed in Polynesia, came with the last migrants from the same region.