Arts and Crafts of the Cook Islands
Men wore their hair long, either flowing loose or tied in a knot on top of the head. Cook (20, p. 172), describing two Mangaians who came off to his ship, says, "Both of them had strong, straight hair, of a jet colour, tied together on the crown of the head with a bit of cloth." Webber, who accompanied Cook's Third Voyage made a drawing (79, pl. 11) of one of these men. Cook (20, p. 194) says of the Atiuans: "In general, they had the hair tied on the crown of the head, long, black, and of a most luxuriant growth."
Of the men of Hervey Island, Cook (20, p. 210) says: "They had strong black hair, which, in general, they wore either hanging loose about their shoulders, or tied in a bunch on the crown of the head. Some, however, had it cropped pretty short; and in two or three of them, it was of a brown or reddish colour."
The prevailing style of short hair for men started with the missionaries. Williams (81, p. 247), speaking of the Cook Islanders, says: "The heathen wear very long hair; and, as the Christians cut theirs short, to cut the hair had become a kind of first step in renouncing heathenism; and when speaking of any person having renounced idolatry, the current expression was, 'Such an one has cut his hair.'"
Cook (20, p. 195) remarks that Atiuan women of advanced age had their hair cropped short. He adds that many of them had cuts on their bodies so lately inflicted that the coagulated blood still remained in them. As such cuts were mourning for a recent death, it is evident that the closely cropped hair was part of the mourning custom. The women's hair in ordinary life was probably bobbed, and the present custom of wearing long hair is probably the result of adopting the hairdress of Christian converts who had copied the hairdress of missionaries' wives.
Scented leaves and flowers were worn by both sexes and all classes, but various ornaments were worn only by the upper classes. The more specialized ornaments were worn by males, whereas females were restricted to simpler and less valuable forms. Practically all the old ornaments were given away or sold, and the present population can give no exact details about them. The following descriptions are largely based on Captain Cook's remarks on the inhabitants of Mangaia, Atiu, and Hervey Island (Manuae) and on specimens examined by me in various museums. W. Wyatt Gill also recorded valuable information concerning Mangaian ornaments.
The ears were pierced for the suspension of ear ornaments termed poe or poe taringa. This custom was reflected in the wooden images of Rarotonga and Aitutaki in which the ears were perforated for the suspension of feather ornaments.
Cook (20, p. 173) says of the Mangaians, "The lobe of their ears was pierced, or rather slit, and to such a length, that one of them stuck there a knife and some beads, which he received from us; …" But of the Atiuans Cook (20, p. 184), writes, "Their ears were bored but not slit: …"
Gill (32, p. 337), describing the Mangaians, says: "The ears of children were pierced with fish-bone, then enlarged with a twig of gardenia, so as to admit a fresh-plucked flower (the scarlet Hibiscus or the Gardenia)." However, he contradicts this statement in another reference (28, p. 126) where he says, "In those days ear-ornaments of a prodigious size were worn by men and women. To admit these clumsy adornments, the ears were slit in childhood and enlarged by constant pressure, until at last a small cocoa-nut (vāō) could be inserted."
The Mangaians were evidently the only people who wore large ornaments, such as small coconuts and wooden cylinders. It is probable that they made an initial slit in the ear lobes, whereas the other islanders pierced the ears.
The modern method in Rarotonga is to hold a lime or an orange against one side of the lobe and pierce it from the other side with the sharp thorn of an orange tree. On removing the thorn, the point of the central unopened leaf of ti is pushed through the hole and a short length left in position to keep the hole patent. The coiled central leaf is cylindrical and increases in thickness toward its base. Fresh leaves are substituted and pushed farther through to gradually dilate the hole to the required size.
The wearing of flowers in the ears was universal. Cook, speaking of the pierced ears of the Atiuans says, "… and in them they hung bits of the membraneous part of some plant, or stuck there an odoriferous flower, which seemed to be a species of gardenia." Cook was right about the flower, for the Gardenia, taitensis (tiare tahiti) had been carried to the various islands of the Cook group by ancestral voyagers, and it is still the favorite flower for wearing in the ear. When the ears are not pierced the flowers are held in position by placing the stem back of the ear.
Red feathers (Atiu)
Cook (20, p. 187) says of a chief in Atiu, "In his ears were large bunches of beautiful red feathers, which pointed forward. But he had no other mark, page 106or ornament, to distinguish him from the rest of the people. …" Two other chiefs wore similar ear ornaments, and a group of women dancers also wore red feathers in their ears (20, p. 188): "… we saw, at the distance of thirty yards, about twenty women, ornamented as the chiefs, with red feathers, engaged in a dance, …"
It is practically certain that the feather bunches were red parakeet feathers arranged in a rosette form by means of superimposed ring carriers. A beautiful single rosette of red parakeet feathers in the Vienna Museum (no. 2736) has no less than 30 coir cord holders bunched together like the red feather rosettes in the Aitutaki headdress (fig. 43). At first, I thought it had become detached from a headdress but after reading Cook's account, there can be little doubt that it is a feather ear ornament from Atiu.
Black feathers (Rarotonga)
A bunch of black feathers attached to the ear of a Rarotongan god (fig. 196, d) was composed of loop carriers (fig. 52). Each of the four holders of a carrier had four split feathers and six carriers were tied together with a strip of paper mulberry bast passed through the loops. One end of the bast strip was passed through the hole drilled through the back of the ear and the two ends were tied. It is probable that similar ornaments were worn by people of distinction.
Coconut Shells (Mangaia)
Reference has been made to the use of small coconut shells (vao). Gill (32, p. 337) states: "… The shell of a species of coconut producing small long nuts—their ends rubbed off on madrepore coral—were filled with fragrant flowers and leaves and worn in the slit lobes of ears of persons (males) of distinction. The lobes were marvellously distended by this practice."
Gill (28, pp. 126, 127) adds that after the leaves and flowers were put inside the nuts, the openings were carefully plugged up. He goes on to relate the story of a woman named Veve who landed on Mangaia from Aitutaki with her four children. On leaving her native island, she had her enormous ear-ornaments filled with mosquitoes so that she might hear their continual hum. She laid aside her ear ornaments to bathe in a stream at Vaikaute and later went fishing. During her absence, the mosquitoes escaped from their prison and stung two of her children to death, the other two escaping by immersing themselves in the nearby stream. Veve set fire to her house to destroy the insects but those that escaped became the ancestors of the present mosquitoes in Mangaia. A Marigaian poet referred to the story in a song commencing with the lines:page 107
Kua topa te poe The ear-ornament was i te taringa: dropped from the ear: Kua vare paa It was forgotten perhaps i Vaikaute. at Vaikaute.
Wooden cylinders (Mangaia)
Ivory Ornaments (Mangaia)
Three whale ivory (rei) ear ornaments in the British Museum are in the form of two small spheres connected with an upper circular lug to which the suspension element is attached. Two are labeled, "Hervey Islands. Phallic ear ornaments of ivory. Mangaia." These two are evidently the ones referred to by Gill (33, p. 253) in a work on Mangaia. "The chiefs, whether married or not, often wore phallic ear ornaments. Two of them are to be seen in the British Museum."
These ancient ear ornaments were regarded as phallic emblems by the missionaries in Mangaia, hence they abolished the native dances in which the ornaments were worn (33, pp. 252, 253). The third ornament (no. +6009) bore the label, "Rarotonga Chiefs ear ring [rei]. Rev. W. W. Gill. 26 Ap. page 1081893." It is probable that the ornament had been given to a Rarotongan chief, but that the island of origin was Mangaia. (See figure 56, a, b, c.) Details of the suspensory lug are shown in figure 56, d, e, f.
Figure 56.—Ivory ear ornaments (British Mus.): a (no number), two balls (1, 1) connected mesially and above to suspensory lug (2); greatest height, 23 mm.; greatest width, 29 mm.; greatest thickness, 19 mm.; fine human-hair braid tied around constricted neck of lug, looped into a small circle (3) about 9 mm. in diameter, crossed and seized together for a short distance (4), and then looped into a wider circle (5) about 24 mm. in diameter. b (+6009), similar to a, but upper mesial circumference of balls not so rounded; height, 23 mm.; width, 33 mm.; thickness, 20 mm.; holes bored through from two sides of lug neck into central pit and suspensory braid passed through holes across floor of pit; intermediate crossing of loops (a,4) has loosened. c (no number), body (1, 1) of ornament similar to b but suspensory lug has no circumferential lip but is divided by a mesial notch into two sharp ridges (2, 2) perforated for suspensory braid; height, 18 mm.; width, 25 mm.; thickness, 13 mm.; suspensory braid (3) shown crossed (4) but seizing fiber has disappeared; ivory much darker than a and b. d, side view of lugs of a and b, showing constricted neck (6), circumferential lip (7) and central pit (8). e, upper surface of lugs of a and b, showing circular form of flat surface and shallow central pit (8). f, upper surface of c showing suspensory lug divided into two transverse ridges (2, 2) by mesial transverse notch and horizontal holes through middle of ridges.
The central pits in the lugs of two of the ornaments (fig. 56, a, b) illustrate an ingenious technique used in boring holes through an ivory object. The Polynesian drill points made funnel-shaped holes and to avoid a large hole of entry as compared with a small hole of exit, objects were drilled from either side until the two holes met in the middle. The thicker the object, the larger the holes on either side. By cutting out a central pit in the top of the lug, the distance to be traversed by the drill point was materially reduced, and two holes were drilled from either side into the central pit. In one of the ornaments (fig. 56, b), the craftsman was content to loop the suspensory braid around the constricted neck; but in the other (fig. 56, a), the holes were drilled and the braid passed through. An identical technique has been observed in the ivory neck ornaments of Mangareva (77, p. 173).
The suspensory element was of fine human hair braid. After being attached to the suspensory lug, the two sides were crossed to form a small page 109loop or circle, and the short overlap was seized together with coir fiber. The remaining ends of the hair braid were then united in a wider loop and reinforced by the addition of two coir fibers. This upper circle was then seized throughout its course with single coir fibers in two colors which were used alternately for a few turns to add color decoration to the suspensory element (fig. 57).
Figure 57.—Technique of suspension element. a, a lightcolored coir fiber (1) has one end (2) bent forward on suspension foundation (3) and makes two complete turns around foundation and over bent forward end. b, forward end (2) is bent back and passed under first half-turn in a half-hitch to fix commencement end. A dark-colored coir fiber (4) is now laid along foundation. c, light fiber now makes three complete turns (5) around foundation, fixes commencement end of dark fiber, and is turned forward along foundation. Dark fiber (4) is brought down over light fiber and makes three complete turns when it is turned forward, and light fiber (1), passing down over it, makes three complete turns. Each color makes three complete turns and thus gives the upper loop of the suspensory element a barred appearance in alternating color. On left of figure, first three crossings are drawn widely spaced to show technique but in actual work, crossings are distinguished only by change in color (6, 7). d, finish resembles commencement, in that end (2) of working fiber is pushed under last two turns and then over them to pass under itself in a half-hitch.
The upper large circle was probably compressed laterally, the end passed well through the ear slit, and the ornament passed through the loop which thus supported it in position.
Necklaces and Breast Ornaments
A line of demarcation between a necklace and, a breast ornament seems somewhat arbitrary as both are hung around the neck. The distinction is one of size, for the smaller ones fit close to the neck whereas the large pearl-shell ornaments hang low on the breast. According to available museum material, Mangaia takes the lead in this form of ornament as well as in ear ornaments.
Flowers and Berries
Figure 58.—Whale ivory and human bone necklace ornaments (Mangaia). a-c, foursided figures: a, length of top, middle, and bottom, 43, 38, 40 mm.; height of left, middle, and right, 20, 13, 18 mm.; greatest thickness, 11 mm.; front surface polished and convex vertically and horizontally; slightly raised flanges at top and bottom borders; two suspensory lugs perforated from side to side. b, back of a: flat without upper and lower border flanges. c, smaller ornament, front view; greatest length, 26 mm.; greatest height, 21 mm. d-g, ivory ball ornaments: d, single ball: total height, 26 mm.; greatest diameter side to side, 22 mm.; thickness, 19 mm.; lug with plain rim, central pit, neck perforated from side to side for suspension cord and also single perforation from front into pit. e, single ball with median cleft on bottom; height, 25 mm.; greatest width, 22 mm.; thickness, 21 mm.; lug with plain rim, central pit, paired lateral holes for suspension and single front hole. f, double ball: height, 24 mm.; greatest width, 31 mm.; thickness, 20 mm.; lug with medium-sized central pit and radiating notches on upper surface; sides of lug curve down from circumference edge to constricted neck without a rim flange; two lateral suspension holes. g, double ball: height, 27 mm.; greatest width, 31 mm.; thickness, 19 mm.; lug with small central pit and upper surface shaping down to sharp rim edge with surface notched with radiating lines; neck sharply concave forming sharp projecting rim with upper surface; two lateral holes. h-l, animal figures: h, head with slit mouth, ear flange (1), neck flange (2) with lower end forming fore feet, truncated tail (3) with central pit, and perforated hind legs (4); no measurements taken (Cambridge University Mus., Z.6075). i, back view of h; truncated tail and two hind legs divided by a square notch. j, head with notched snout, ear flange (1), neck flange (2), truncated tail (3) with rim flange and central pit, hind legs (4) broken through original perforations and new hole made above; length, 27 mm.; height from hind legs to tail, 16 mm. (British Mus., no number). k, anterior view of j, showing continuity of ear flange (1) and neck flange (2), also mouth notch (5) with median ridge running from ear flange to mouth slit. l, sharp pointed snout with no mouth notch, small ear flange, no neck flange but lower projection for front legs, truncated tail without central pit, and slight projection for hind legs not large enough for holes so that suspensory hole is bored higher up; length, 31 mm.; height at hind end, 16 mm. (British Mus., no number). m-r, other figures: m, rectangular figure, front view with three transverse ridges; height, 26 mm.; width at upper border, 17 mm.; width lower border, 18 mm.; greatest thickness, 10 mm. (British Mus., no number). n, back of m: semicircular depression (1) at upper border to make room for lateral perforations for suspension; lower border also trimmed in curve; surface flat. o, front surface with transverse ridges, lower serrated border, upper border panel with raised knobs, and two suspensory lugs perforated from front back (Oldman coll., 478). p, upper border raised flange (1), another raised flange (2) with notches forming rectangles, sharp edge (3) defining raised lower wide panel with bottom edge notched (Royal Scottish Mus., U.C.352). q, (same necklace as p): front Surface with three transverse raised panels (1, 2, 3) and raised lower border (4) with six notches. r, bird figure, made of turtle shell, leg perforated to form suspension lug (Oldman coll., 478).
Note. back view of p. and q. not available but probably treated like n. for suspension.
Ivory Necklaces (Mangaia)
Ten necklaces in various collections have established a unique type of ornament for Mangaia. They are located as follows: British Museum (2); Cambridge University Museum (2); Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh (1); Boulogne Museum (1); Peabody Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1); Oldman Collection (3). Each of the necklaces consists of a composite neck cord to which a number of small bone or whale ivory ornaments are attached, and the technique of all the necklaces is similar. (See plate 8, D.)
The neck cord consists of three elements: foundation, suspensory, and seizing. The foundation element in the majority of necklaces is sennit about 4 mm. thick; but in the Peabody Museum necklace, it consists of two coir cords laid side by side, and in one of the British Museum specimens, it is composed of coir four-ply round plait. The ends of the foundation element are bent back at each end to form loops for the attachment of a tying cord. In the four-ply round plait, the loop at one end consists of two cords which were evidently later separated into their constituent four plies to form the round plait and the other loop was formed partly of round plait which was then merged into a braid and doubled back to be caught under the seizing. The length, including the loops, ranges from 15.75 inches to 22.5 inches with an average of about 18.5 inches.
The suspensory element which passes through the perforated lugs of the ornaments is thin coir cord with the one exception of fine sennit. The seizing element in eight necklaces is fine human hair braid; in one necklace it is of fine sennit stained black; and in one of the British Museum specimens the mixed plies of human hair and coir give the fine braid a variegated appearance.
The ornaments are spaced along the length of the neck band. Five of the necklaces have nine ornaments, and it is evident from the even spacing between the end loops that nine is the normal number. Four necklaces have seven ornaments and one has eight, but it is evident from gaps in the spacing and from page 112breakages in the suspensory cord that those having less than nine have lost ornaments. In the ten necklaces, 81 ornaments are available for study. Of these, 80 are made of whale ivory or bone while one unique, in the form of a bird, in the Oldman collection (no. 478) is made of turtle shell. The bone and ivory ornaments divide into four motifs: 40 four-sided plates, 27 ball ornaments, 9 animal ornaments, and 4 miscellaneous figures.
The sides and ends of the four-sided plates are concave. Oldman (54, vol. 47, p. 12) likens them to the tops of seats; but, as there were no wooden seats in Mangaia, the origin of the motif remains unknown. No attempt was made to make the plates perfectly symmetrical, for the lengths of the two sides or the two ends rarely coincide. Each plate has two perforated lugs projecting from the upper long edge. They vary in size and the smaller plates are usually placed toward the ends. (See figure 58, a, b, c.)
The ball ornaments are of the same shape as the ear ornaments (fig. 56), but there is some variation in the treatment of the lugs. Some have a plain rim, as do those of the ear ornaments, but others have the sides of the rim lip grooved with vertical lines. Others have no lip but the upper surface is expanded and notched with lines radiating from the central pit. In some, the central pits are small, whereas others are large. Of the 27 ornaments, 25 are divided into two balls. Of the remaining two, one is a single ball and the other has a notch on the under surface which does not extend far upward on the sides (fig. 58, d, e).
The nine animal figures have heads with pointed snouts, most of which are notched at the end to represent a mouth. The ears are represented by a raised vertical flange, which is continuous over the top of the head. Eyes are not represented. Behind the ear flange is another raised flange which is continuous over the back of the neck, descends vertically down both sides, and projects downward on the under surface to give the appearance of the front feet. The body is elongated and slender and ends in two short hind legs and a short, vertical, truncated tail. Each hind leg is perforated from side to side to take the suspensory cord. The upper surface of the truncated tail is usually pitted in the center. In some figures, the tail stump has an outer projecting rim which, with the central pit, resembles the lug of the ball ornaments from which the technique was probably copied as an artistic finish rather than for suspension (fig. 58, h-l).
The origin of the animal motif in the necklace ornaments is extremely puzzling. As neither the dog nor the pig was present in Mangaia, the choice of a local animal as an art motif was of necessity restricted to the rat. Some of the more slender figures are not unlike a rat except for the tail. The truncated tail certainly conveys the impression of an amputated tail, and the trimming of a long tail would have incurred waste of valuable material. How-page 113ever , a similar animal motif occurs in Rurutu in the neighboring Austral Islands. The possibility of diffusion from Rurutu is discussed on page 440.
The four miscellaneous figures are somewhat rectangular in form and the narrow upper edge has a perforated suspension lug at each end. All four are grooved horizontally on the front surface to form ridges, some of which are notched. One figure in a British Museum necklace is plain on the back, and I assume that the other three, of which I have photographs of the front side only, likewise have plain backs (fig. 58, m-q).
The different motifs alternate on the suspensory cord. Thus, four plates are placed so that three other motifs, such as the ball figures, come in the intervening spaces and another motif, such as the animal, is placed at either end so that the total of nine is completed. The two Cambridge University necklaces, depart from this arrangement in that there are five plates, two coming together at one end.
The method of seizing the suspensory cord to the foundation element is shown in figure 59.
Figure 59.—Attachment of necklace ornaments: end loop (1) of foundation element of sennit; foundation seized with human-hair braid (2) which covers end of suspensory coir cord (3) and so fixes it to foundation. At appropriate distance (4), suspensory cord is lifted and threaded through hole in neck of ball ornament (5); the hair braid continues its seizing turns (6) for a little over width of ornament lug, when suspensory cord is laid against foundation and seizing turns (7) continue over it to correct distance for next ornament. Cord is picked up and threaded through left lug of four-sided ornament; two or three seizing turns are made and suspensory cord returned to foundation; two or three seizing turns are made over it when it is again picked up and threaded through right lug of ornament; two or three seizing turns are made and suspensory cord returned to foundation where it is covered with seizing turns until interval (9) for next ornament is reached. Suspensory cord is picked up and passed through holes in hind legs of animal ornaments (10); some seizing turns are made and cord is returned to foundation, thus suspending animal ornament head down with its back to the front. Seizing turns continue until next interval is reached. The other ornaments are attached in same manner. The three elements of, composite neck cord are shown on right; foundation braid (11), hair-braid seizing element (12), and coir suspensory cord (13).
Cords of bast were attached to the end loops of the foundation element for tying around the neck. In most of the necklaces these tying cords were absent. In one necklace, a strip of bast was passed through the end loop to its page 114middle and doubled back to form two plies which were twisted into a cord (pl. 8, D).
Excepting necklaces of small land or sea shells, the usual technique in central, north, south, and east Polynesia was to attach a single ornament to the neck cord or band. The use of multiple ornaments is thus somewhat peculiar to Mangaia and does not occur until we reach western Polynesia and Melanesia.
Ivory Neck Ornament (Atiu)
A whale ivory ornament in an enlarged form of the Mangaian ear and neck ball ornaments is preserved in the Cambridge University Museum. The catalog describes it thus, "Rei of cachalot tooth, given by Ngamaru, husband of Makea chieftainess of Rarotonga, to Rev. J. J. K. Hutchin." Ngamaru was one of the three ariki chiefs of Atiu. He married Makea, the most influential ariki of Rarotonga and lived in Rarotonga with his wife after his marriage. The Reverend Hutchin represented the London Missionary Society in Rarotonga while Ngamaru lived there, hence it is evident that the ornament (fig. 60, a, b, c) came from Atiu through Ngamaru.
Figure 60.—Ivory and wooden breast ornaments (Atiu): a-c, ivory ornament (Cambridge University Mus., Z.6097); d-e, wooden ornament (after Gudgeon). a, front; total height, 53 mm.; greatest width, 67 mm.; greatest thickness, 43 mm.; shows two balls (1, 1), and suspensory lug (2) with outer lip. b, from above: shows suspensory lug (2, 2) divided into two flanges by notch from side to side, with upper surface of flanges notched in transverse lines and inner lower part serrated; with central rectangular pit; holes bored through into pit from each end and each side. c, view from below showing dividing groove, d, side view of wooden ornament showing two balls (1, 1) and suspensory lug (2) with outer lip, also square hole in front of lug. e, upper surface showing treatment of suspensory lug to be similar to that of ivory ornament (b).
A similar ornament (fig. 60, d, e) made of dark wood, attributed to Atiu and termed a rei, was figured by Gudgeon (35, pp. 210, 211). He regarded it as a phallic ornament peculiar to Atiu. He states: "The rei of Atiu was worn page 115only by the toa, or braves, of the tribe, and conferred upon the wearer certain rights over any woman he might meet, so long as he wore the symbol around his waist." Gudgeon does not give the whereabouts of the ornament nor the dimensions. He says, "The original is made of tamanu wood and is so old that the texture and polish is that of agate, though the grain of the wood can still be distinctly seen."
Gudgeon thought that the term rei raised the question as to whether the New Zealand ornaments known by the same name were not also originally emblems of the same nature, and he added that he fancied the rei of New Zealand was of phallic origin.
The term rei and its dialectical equivalent, lei, is widely distributed throughout Polynesia, and when applied to ornaments, it refers to the whale ivory or cachalot teeth from which the ornaments were made. Thus the Samoan necklace of several long pointed pendants made of whale ivory was termed 'ula lei ('ula, necklace; lei, whale ivory). The characteristic Hawaiian neck ornament, a hook-shaped pendant of whale ivory, was termed a lei palaoa (lei, neck ornament; palaoa, whale). Neither of these two ornaments suggests a phallic motif. In Mangareva (77, p. 173), a simple pendant of whale ivory was termed a 'ei rei ('ei, neck ornament; rei, whale ivory). It is evident that the term rei was the name for whale ivory throughout Polynesia; and, in some island groups, the term rei was also applied to ornaments made of whale ivory. In other islands, the term was applied to ornaments made of wood; for example, the wooden replica of the ivory ornament in Atiu. In Easter Island, the breast ornament made of miro wood was termed rei but was qualified by the material, rei miro.
The term rei as applied to the New Zealand ornament does not carry the idea of a phallic ornament. Modern native informants have a tendency to designate objects as phallic because they know that will intrigue European inquirers. The phallic nature of the Atiu ornament is further stressed by the statement that it was worn around the waist. That the ornaments were worn around the neck is amply proved by Cook (20, pp. 194, 195), who says of the Atiuans: "Some, who were of a superior class, and also the Chiefs, had two little balls, with a common base, made from the bone of some animal, which hung, round the neck, with a great many folds of small cord."
The use of these artifacts as neck ornaments is conclusively proved by Gruning (34, p. 22, pl. 17), who found such a necklace in a burial cave in Atiu. The specimen consisted of many folds of "finely plaited human hair" from which a ball ornament was suspended (fig. 61, a). A smaller ball ornament was found in the same cave. Both were made of whale tooth and both were deeply discolored. Gruning was not aware of similar ornaments from Mangaia, hence he regarded the Atiu ornaments as due to independent evolution.page 116
The method of suspension in Atiu necklaces differs from that of the Mangaian necklaces with similar ball ornaments, but it resembles in principle that used for the Mangaian pearl-shell breast plates. There appear to have been a number of these ornaments in Atiu, and it is probable that they conferred no greater sexual license than did the ear ornaments and necklaces of Mangaia. It is certain that the ball motif was shared by Atiu and Mangaia in pre-European times. The motif was evidently diffused from one island to the other, but I cannot say which was the island of origin.
Figure 61.—Atiu neck ornament from Gruning collection (after Gruning): a, whale tooth ornament (1) shaped into two balls "not more than about two inches across", connected by an upper circular lug with constricted neck around which human hair braid (?) is tied for suspension to some turns (2) of braid tied around middle of coil of many folds of finely plaited human hair of which part on right (3) was preserved but left half (4) "of hair cords completely fell away on removal" from cave site; end of left coil evidently tied with turns of similar material. b, smaller ball ornament showing upper circular lug with constricted neck; deeply discolored and showing commencement of surface decay.
Cylindrical Ivory Beads (Atiu)
A set of eight whale ivory beads (fig. 62) was discovered by Gruning (34, pp. 22, 25, pl. 17) in another burial place in Atiu. Seven are cylindrical and one spherical. The cylindrical beads are somewhat barrel-shaped with a greater diameter in the middle than at the ends which are flanged. All are pierced for threading on a string, the cylindrical ones being drilled longitudinally. No other beads of this form have been recorded from the Cook Islands, but a number have been collected elsewhere. The long even holes differ from the funnel-shaped holes formed by native Polynesian drills. The question of diffusion and foreign technique requires investigation.
Human Hair Necklaces (Mangaia)
Fine braid of human hair about 2 mm. wide is termed manoa, and, according to Gill (32, p. 337), the quantity of hair indicated the rank of the wearer. The braid was wound in long loops, and the ends of the combined loops were tied with a cord, usually of bast, to fasten the braid around the neck. To the middle of the hair loop, some ornament was usually attached. These necklaces were worn by men, but an exception was made for the favorite daughter of a chief. Mangaian specimens of human hair necklaces with pearl shells attached are found in various museums. Cook (20, p. 195) states that the Atiuans wore their bone ornaments hung around the neck with a great many folds of small cord (fig. 61, a). It is probable that the "small cord" consisted of human hair braid and that the other islands in the group used human hair for a similar purpose.
If the valuable whale ivory and pearl shell were not available, wood was sometimes used for neck ornaments. Thus the Atiuans copied the whale ivory ball ornament in tamanu wood (fig. 60, d, e). Gill states (32, p. 337) that in lieu of the pearl-shell ornament a piece of miro wood was adzed into the shape of a shell. He states also that a woman of rank might wear a "miro" ornament.
Pearl-shell Breast Ornaments
Pearl-shell ornaments consisting of one valve of the shell with the hinge portion cut off were worn throughout the Cook Islands. The outer surface was ground down to remove the dark external color and reveal the pearly sheen beneath. The upper, cut edge was drilled with holes for lashing the shell to the neck band, which consisted of many folds of human hair braid. Cook (20, p. 173) speaking of a Mangaian says: "… The same person had two polished pearl-shells, and a bunch of human hair, loosely twisted, hanging about his neck, which was the only ornament we observed."
Pearl-shell ornaments were not observed by Cook's party in Atiu, but Gruning (34, p. 22) found "a small circular pearl-shell breast plate or pendant" in a burial cave in Atiu. Of Hervey Island (Manuae), Cook (20, p.210) says: "The shell of a pearl-oyster polished, and hung about the neck, was the only ornamental fashion that we observed amongst them; …"
The pearl oyster was not found in the waters around the volcanic islands of the Cook group, so the shells from which the ornaments were made must have been obtained by trade or as gifts from other islands. Williams (81, p. 90) tempted the Mangaians to come on board his schooner by holding up knives and pearl shells. The fact that he brought pearl shells from Tahiti as page 118articles of trade, shows that the lack of the pearl oyster in the Cook Islands was, known in the northern islands. The only pearl-shell ornaments of the Cook group that I have seen, come from Mangaia, but one of doubtful age is reported from Aitutaki. They were known throughout the group as ti'a.
Pearl-shell Ornaments (Mangaia)
Figure 63.—Pearl-shell breast ornament (British Mus., 9945): a, front view with inner surface of pearl shell (1); hinge part cut off straight and drilled with four holes near edge; height, 125 mm.; greatest width, 144 mm.; width at upper edge, 84 mm.; continuous coils of human-hair braid (2) 2 mm. wide; coil flattened out and each end tied with a few turns of cord (3); length of coil 530 mm.; middle part compressed together for lashing to shell, thickness from below upward 26 mm. and from front to back 23 mm.; lashing of flat sennit (4); sennit very fine (2 mm. wide); for lashing technique see figure 64. b, back of ornament.
Another type of pearl-shell breast ornament (fig. 65, a) in the British Museum (no. S.871) is attributed to Tahiti. What appears to be the same ornament was figured by Edge-Partington (24, I-44-1), who attributed it to the Marquesas and then, in his "Additional Notes" in the same volume, changed the locality to Hervey Islands after reading Gill (32, p. 337). Gill, however, merely stated that the Mangaians wore pearl-shell ornaments attached to a coil of human hair and did not describe any technique that would aid in identifying the ornaments as belonging to any particular group page 119of islands. As pearl-shell ornaments attached to human hair coils were made in Tahiti and the Marquesas, there is no proof from Gill's statement that this ornament belongs to the Hervey Islands. The shell is cut farther away from the hinge than in the preceding ornament (no. 9945), hence is much wider across the top edge. The greater width provided space for 13 suspension holes below the edge.
Figure 64.—Lashing technique on pearl-shell ornament: a, hair coil (12) placed against hinge edge of shell; lashing material consists of fine flat sennit 2 mm. wide; lashing commences on left, the sennit being probably fixed around coil with a running noose, but commencement concealed by subsequent turns. Technique consisted of courses of spiral turns which pass through shell holes and around coil. First course (1) commencing on left passes upward toward right in front on the coil, downward toward right on back to enter next hole, and finishes with a turn around coil on right, free of shell, b, second course (2) commencing on right, passes upward toward left in front of coil, crosses first course (1) near top, descends on back to enter holes, and finishes with a turn around coil on left, free of shell. Note that free end of sennit at bottom edge of coil is to left of first course (1). c, commencing on left, third course (3) repeats turns of first course (1) but keeps on left of them. On right, sennit takes another turn around free coil and fourth course (4) repeats turns of second course (2) and keeps on their left, d, four more courses are made, odd numbers (5, 7) working toward right and even numbers (6, 8) working toward left, each course keeping to left of previous course which it follows. At this stage, pattern made by crossings on coil consists of four chevrons, e, ninth course (9) commences on left by crossing turns on back and appearing at lower border of coil on right of previous turns; it then follows turns of first course (1) from left to right but keeps on right, thus crossing turns of courses that worked from right to left. After turning on right edge of shell, tenth course (10) follows second course (2), turns from right to left, but keeps on right side of turns. Change in position of ninth and tenth courses forms right hand boundaries of. a lozenge motif internally enhanced by chevrons. f, from its position on left, sennit makes eleventh (11) course by following turns of ninth course (9) from left to right and keeping on its right. Sennit takes turn around coil on right where it is fixed to complete lashing. g, lozenge motif enlarged, with courses numbered.
The shell is lashed to a suspensory coil of human hair braid and fine coir cord (2 mm. thick) with fine sennit dyed black. The lashing braid passes through the 13 holes near the upper edge in four courses (fig. 65, b, c) which embody the technique used in the preceding ornament. At each end, the lashing turns pass around the coil free of the shell, and the ends of the coil are free without any seizing. These two technical features are present in the other Mangaian ornament (no. 9945).
Figure 65.—Pearl-shell breast ornament (British Mus., S.871): a, pearl shell (1) cut straight across well down from hinge; height, 192 mm.; width at upper edge, 209 mm.; greatest width, 212 mm.; 13 holes bored near upper edge, funnel shaped from each surface, outer diameter of holes on inner shell surface being 12 mm.; strip of original outer surface (2) extending along shell rim; coil (3) composed of coir cord (2 mm. thick) and black human hair braid; total length of coil, 490 mm.; lashing (4) of fine sennit (2 mm. wide) dyed black; bone plate (5) forming four-sided figure similar to those in Mangaian necklace (fig. 58) with straight upper edge carrying two lugs pierced from the front back for suspension, and other sides concave, 36 mm. high in middle and 51 mm. in middle width, and 4 mm. thick; second plate (6) much thicker (6 to 11 mm.) with straight upper edge carrying two suspensory lugs pierced from side to side, upper edge 40 mm., lower concave edge 67 mm.; middle vertical height 32 mm.; and end heights, 37 mm. b, lashing of coil to shell in four courses, first course (1) from left to right for all holes, second returning course (2) from right to left with crossing near top front, third course (3) from left to right on right of first course, and last course (4) from right to left to left of second course, c, back of b, showing second crossings on back of coil with same sequence of courses.
The technical differences between these ornaments and pearl-shell ornaments from Tahiti and the Marquesas are discussed on page 438. Evidence that the second ornament discussed is from Mangaia is afforded by a British Museum ornament with two attached bone plates (fig. 65, a,5, 6) that are page 121identical in form to those on the Mangaian necklaces (fig. 58, a-c). This evidence is weakened, however, by the fact that the ornaments are attached by a separate piece of cord that is not an integral part of the lashing or the coil. Fortunately, I received for identification a photograph of a pearl-shell ornament from the Copenhagen Museum (pl. 8, A) which was practically identical with the British Museum specimen and which had similar bone ornaments that were threaded through strands of the suspensory hair coil. Hence, the bone plates and the shell ornament were made in the same locality, and as there is no doubt as to the Mangaian origin of the plates, it follows that the shell ornament belongs to the same island. Thus the Copenhagen ornament may be regarded as the key specimen which solves a problem.
There are records of five other ornaments, which prove that the two discussed are of an established type. In the Fuller collection, there are three with the shells cut across at some distance from the hinge and with many holes drilled near the upper edge. All have the strip of unground material along the outer rim. Two have the suspensory coil of hair braid with a similar lashing, which takes turns around the coil at each end and free of the shell, and some straight strands of the coil on the back that are not included in the lashing. The ends of the coil form simple loops without any seizing into eyelets. The third ornament has lost its suspensory coil. Another in the Oldman collection (54, vol. 47, pl. 20, no. 399) conforms with the description given above. The fifth specimen, figured by Edge-Partington (24, II-15-3), is said to have belonged to the ariki, Tamatoa, of Raiatea in the Society Islands. Edge-Partington gives G. Benett, one of the London Missionary Society Commissioners, as his authority. Anything connected with Benett carries the proof of age, but not of accuracy as regards locality.
Pearl-shell Breast Ornaments (Aitutaki)
Their gorgets are suspended from the neck with a wreath of human hair down below the chin, and whether for ornament or service I cannot say, but I incline to think for both. It looks very well, and may in battle fend off a spear. It is of a single large pearl shell six inches in diameter, worked by some means to look very smooth and beautiful.
In the same work, a drawing by Lieutenant G. Tobin (46, p. 134) shows a man standing up in a canoe with a many-barbed spear in his right hand, a pearl-shell ornament held by the hair "wreath" in his left hand, and another pearl-shell ornament hanging on his breast. The ornament held in the hand appears to be a full-sized shell and the one on the breast appears to have been cut down to a crescentic shape like those from Mauke. The pearl shells were used entirely for ornament and not for the additional purpose of warding off a weapon as Tobin surmised.page 122
Figure 66.—Pearl-shell breast ornaments from Aitutaki and Mauke. a, Aitutaki: single pearl shell (1) pierced with four holes along upper hinge margin for attachment of coil (2) of 32 strands of two-ply cord of bast fiber dyed brown; at ends of coil folds, a thicker two-ply cord (3) of undyed bast (hibiscus?) is tied for suspension around neck (Auckland Mus., 14488). b, Mauke: part of shell (1) is crescentic in form with upper concave edge; holes bored at each upper corner for attachment of single human hair braid (2) which is passed through holes, and ends tied with overhand knots (Otago University Mus.). c, Mauke: more crescentic form than b; hole at each end to which are tied ends of a suspension braid of human hair; one unengaged hole is pierced below middle of upper edge (Samuela Ariki coll.).
Pearl-shell Breast Ornament (Mauke)
Skinner (61, p. 276) figures a pearl-shell ornament from Mauke. The upper edge is concave with a hole bored at either end. The suspensory element consists of a single length of fine human hair braid (fig. 66, b). Skinner's informant, W. Drury Low, states that examples have been found in more than one burial cave. If the shell of the ornament figured was found in a burial cave, it is probable that the original suspensory element had decayed and has been replaced by the single length of braid.
Skinner (62, p. 187) figures another pearl-shell breast ornament submitted to him for inspection by the owner Samuela Ariki of Mauke (fig. 66, c). page 123The pearl shell has been cut down to a much smaller size with a markedly concave upper border. Like the other Mauke ornament, it has a hole near the upper corners, but it has an additional hole in the middle. This ornament is supported by a single piece of human hair braid; and Skinner remarks that, although neatly done, the braid is quite modern, as are the holes which were drilled with a steel drill. It is probable that the ornament was made after I derived information from Samuela Ariki during my stay on Mauke in 1929. The recent origin of the second Mauke ornament casts doubts upon the age of the first one. It is evident that the Mauke people, like the Rarotongans, have engaged in manufacturing curios for the market but that they lack old original specimens to provide the true pattern. Skinner quotes W. Drury Low as saying that in pre-European times these pendants were sometimes fastened to the head by plaiting with the uncut hair. This is undoubtedly a neo-myth, for the Polynesians were too good as craftsmen to attempt any such inconvenient method.
Figure 67.—Ornamental body cord from Mangaia (British Mus.). a, looped end: elements in looped end are loop of well-plaited sennit (1), 8 mm. wide and 5 mm. thick, loop of sennit closely wrapped with human hair (2), and a single length of hair-wrapped braid (3) with its end (4) neatly seized with fine sennit. Seized elements are three lengths of sennit, each 4 mm. wide, laid together in triangular form and seized closely with black hair twisted into a tight roll about 2 mm. thick. Seizing extends throughout length of triple braids making them about 8 mm. in diameter. About 78 mm. from end of loops, the five elements are lashed together (5) with fine sennit from below upward, and braid is passed under some loose upper turns which are drawn taut. Another lashing is made a little lower down in same way. Four spaced lashings are made in a length of 125 mm. Lashing sennit is 2 mm. to 2.5 mm. in width, and composite cord of fine elements is 19 mm. by 16 mm. thick. At a distance of 5,620 mm. from looped end, one end of doubled sennit (1) appears and is seized with fine sennit. Composite cord for four elements, three hair covered and one uncovered, continues for another 1,450 mm. Near end, four elements are lashed five times with fine sennit, as at commencement end. Single ends of uncovered and of hair-wrapped elements are seized with fine sennit which passes over from uncovered sennit to take eight turns around hair-covered loop, where it is fixed, b, figure on label, showing that turns were over both shoulders and around the waist.
At feasts and festivals, fragrant leaves and the yellow fading leaves of the ti were worn around the upper arm. Beyond this, nothing is known of special armlets outside of Mangaia.
Human-hair Armlets (Mangaia)
Gill (32, p. 337) states that plaited human hair (manoa) was wrapped around the arms as ornamentation by the chiefly class.
Shell Armlets (Mangaia)
Figure 68.—Shell armlet (British Mus., E. Polynesian case): white cowrie shell (Ovula ovum),90 mm. long, showing two holes for attachment to arm.
Scented leaves and yellow ti leaves were tied around the ankles during festivals by the masses of the people.
Hair Anklets (Mangaia)
Mangaia again appears peculiar in the use of finely plaited human hair braid, which, according to Gill (32, p. 337), was wound repeatedly just above the ankles by the better classes. As in the similar use of hair braid on the arms and breast, the amount indicated rank and wealth. It is probable that sennit wrapped with human hair (as in fig. 67, a), was also used. This form of hair wrapped sennit was also used to wind around the stand of one of the Mangaian gods (fig. 240).
An ornamental staff carved with five sets of fairly evenly spaced human figures and with the spaces between the figures ornamented with fine sennit has no history, but the carved figures are typically Rarotongan. The staff is wider in one diameter than the other. On the wider surface, the human figures are shown in profile in pairs back to back, whereas the full face is shown on the narrower surface. Each set, except the middle one, consists of a pair with well formed heads, eyes, mouth, and ears and with conventional upper and lower limbs. The middle set has two pairs of figures with their feet meeting in the middle line and their heads directed toward their respective ends of the staff. In the end sets, the heads form the ends of the staff; and each of the intermediate sets have the heads directed toward the nearer staff end. The four interspaces between the five sets of figures range in length from 158 to 183 mm. The two end interspaces are covered with the Rarotongan multiple lozenge pattern similar to that on the Rarotongan fan handles and like them in two colors, natural and red. The two middle interspaces are covered with close transverse turns in which two colors are alternated to form narrow bands. Details are shown in figure 69.
The figures are well carved, the eyes having raised flanges instead of curved incisions. The ears show three variations of detail: with distinct ears hollowed out (fig. 69, c, e), without being hollowed out (fig. 69, b, f), and two ears fused into one (fig. 69, d).
Figure 69.—Ornamental staff (British Mus., 1905-11-14-1). a, full staff: total length, 1,096 mm.; shows five sets of human figures (1-5) and four interspaces, two end ones (6, 9) with multiple lozenge lashing and two middle ones (7, 8) with transverse turns, b, side view of left end figures (a,1): shows back to back heads with eyes formed by raised flanges, incised mouth and distinct ears; raised carved figure (1) forms conventional upper limbs in front view (g, 1) and lower elliptical raised figure (2), with middle hollowed out, forms lower limbs in front (g,2); below figures a raised, notched flange (3) encircles staff; the two figures are 41 mm. wide by 26 mm. thick and 77 mm. high to bottom of notched flange; decorative lashing commences immediately below flange with a number of close transverse turns (4) which change to multiple lozenge pattern (5), for rest of first interspace except a few transverse turns at end; sennit-covered staff is here 33 mm. wide by 24 mm. thick and interspace length (a,6) is 161 mm. c, side view of second set (a, 2): width, 40 mm.; thickness, 25 mm.; height, 69 mm.; similar to first set (b) but with ears, hollowed out; next interspace (4) between figure sets, 179 mm. long, 31 mm. wide, and 22 mm. thick, d, middle set of upper and lower figures (a, 3): similar to others but ears have fused into one and there is no notched flange between figures; greatest width, 38 mm.; thickness, 25 mm.; height of reversed sets, 107 mm.; e, lower intermediate figures (a,4): similar to c with ears hollowed out; width, 39 mm.; thickness, 28 mm.; height, 65 mm.; intermediate space above (1) with transverse sennit lashing, width, 30 mm.; thickness, 20 mm.; length, 183 mm.; intermediate space below (2) with multiple lozenge pattern; width, 31 mm.; thickness, 25 mm. length, 158 mm. f, lower end figures (a,5): similar in all respects to upper end figures (b); width, 43 mm.; thickness, 30 mm.; height, 87 mm. g-k, front views of figures immediately above; upper limbs (1) and lower limbs (2) similarly marked throughout.
In describing the Atiuans, Cook (20, pp. 183, 184) says: "They were punctured upon the legs, from the knee to the heel, which made them appear as if they wore a kind of boot." Later he says (20, p. 195) of the same people: "Some of the men were punctured all over the sides and back, in an uncommon manner; and some of the women had the same ornament upon their legs. But this method was confined to those who seemed to be of a superior rank."
Williams (81, p. 67), who visited Aitutaki in 1821, says of the people, "Some were tattooed from head to foot"; and he (81, p. 110) says of the high chief, Makea, whom he met on his discovery of Rarotonga: "…his body is most beautifully tattooed, and was slightly covered with a preparation of turmeric and ginger, which gave it a light orange tinge, and in the estimation of the Rarotongans, added much to the beauty of his appearance."
In the English edition of John Williams' "A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises", London, 1838, a colored frontispiece from an oil painting by G. Baxter represents the Rarotongan chief Te Pou (incorrectly spelt Te Po) tattooed from neck to toes but with the face unmarked. The tattooing design consists of curved lines encircling the body and meeting a vertical line down the middle of the anterior surface. The arms are covered with similar lines, with a downward curve in front; and the thighs and legs are covered with more horizontal lines, the lines are spaced. On the knees are turtle motifs with the outline of the kneecap forming the body and slight projections forming the four flippers, and the head is projected upward. As the human figure wears the Aitutaki headdress (fig. 39, a), and as G. Baxter was a London engraver, it is quite certain that the painting was composed in London from verbal information given him by missionaries and that the tattooing design depicted cannot be accepted as accurate. The picture does indicate, however, that Te Pou was extensively tattooed.
The general term for the tattooing process is ta tatau (ta, verb to strike or tap; tatau, results of the tapping). In Mangaia, the process is termed ta tipatipa. The coined English word of "tattoo" is evidently taken from the page 128Polynesian word "tatau", and it is amusing that some western writers have converted the word tattoo back into tatu to record what they imagined was the correct Polynesian term.
In Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Mangaia, I was told that the tattooing comb was made from the bone of a bird, but Savage (57) states the bones of rats were also used. The bone was scraped thin (angiangi) and the lower end notched finely to form teeth. The notched bone was then tied at approximately right angles to a wooden handle. So far as I know, no old instrument from the Cook Islands has been preserved. The instrument was termed ivi (bone) and in Mangaia, the term was qualified by the process, ivi ta tipatipa. Savage gives the name of the instrument as "ui tatau"; but, as uhi is the name used in New Zealand and other islands, the Rarotongan term is probably u'i tatau.
The tapping instrument was a short piece of wood as thick as the little finger. In Aitutaki, it was termed rakau papa or rakau patupatu, wood for tapping or beating.
A swab termed 'oroi toto ('oroi, to swab; toto, blood) was a piece of bark cloth. The operator wound it around the fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand and swabbed up the blood during the operation.
The pigment used throughout the islands was the soot caught under an inverted bowl or coconut-shell cup held over burning kernels of candlenut (tuitui). The soot was scraped into another coconut-shell cup and mixed with water to the required consistency. It then received the general name for charcoal or soot, ngara'u.
The points of the bone comb were dipped in the prepared pigment, placed on the skin and lightly struck with the tapping instrument. Any blood that oozed out from the punctures was swabbed up with the bark cloth. By successive punctures, the appropriate art motifs were applied to the various parts of the human body. When the tattooing was fairly extensive, the operation was conducted in stages with intervals to allow the patient respite from the pain. In olden days, honor demanded that the patient continue until the full pattern denoting his rank and social position was completed. In more modern times, tattooing was continued because of a certain amount of sentiment for the past, but pain limited the operation to a smaller area. With the waning sentiment and the passing away of tattooing artists, the art languished and died out. The abandonment of tattooing was also influenced by the missionary attitude of antagonism to what they considered a "heathen practice."
The tattooing artist (ta'unga ta tatau) was a professional who had learned the art from established experts. He was well fed during the period of work and given a feast and presents of food and other goods when the operation was concluded. The relatives of the person tattooed helped to provide the food and presents. More care was devoted to the tattooing of chiefs, because of their better social and economic rating. In Aitutaki, when I asked if anyone was too poor to be tattooed (70, p. 363), I was told that "There was no man who did not have relatives."
The motifs and patterns in tattooing are held by the natives to have derived from wood carving (pana). However, it is probable that some of the art motifs were worked out in freehand on bark cloth. It seems natural that art motifs should have been worked out on inanimate material such as wood and cloth before they were accepted as pleasing and transferred to sensitive flesh. There seems little doubt that some of the more elaborate Marquesan tattooing designs were worked out originally on wooden bowls and that the Maori double spiral and scroll were done on wooden figures before they were accepted as suitable for tattooing designs. In the Cook Islands, the full tattooing was not recorded by the early missionaries and others who had the opportunity of seeing it. At this late day we can only record the few motifs that survived on individuals or in the memory of the old people who saw them. There is no information as regards the tattooing details in Atiu, Mauke, and Mitiaro; but a few motifs from Aitutaki, Mangaia, and Rarotonga are herein recorded.
Gudgeon (36, p. 217) recorded four motifs in 1905. He stated that each canoe that came from the earlier home of Havaiki was carved on the bow with a distinctive pattern which was adopted by those who came in the canoe as a tattooing motif to distinguish them from other tribes. He states that the continuous chevron motif (fig. 70, a) was introduced by Te Muna-korero and tarmed pa-maunga in memory of a mountain range in the homeland of Havaiki. The pandanus flower motif (fig. 70, f), he attributed to Kaki, who came through the Vaimotu passage in the Katopa-'enua canoe and landed at Taravao. The komua motif (fig. 70, g) is attributed to Irakau who entered by the Taketake passage on the Ui-tariao canoe. The paeko motif (fig. 70, h) was assigned to Te 'Erui-o-te-rangi and the punarua motif to Ruatapu. Five other motifs were later recorded by me (66, p. 98) from information obtained from an Aitutaki chief named Kake Maunga. The nine motifs which were recorded together later (70, pp. 364-367), are here shown in figure 70.page 130
Gudgeon does not give the parts of the body upon which the motifs were tattooed. Kake Maunga told me that a tattooed man with the manuta'i motif on the back and the papavaro motif in front, would display his tattooing at public gatherings as he turned his body to an accompanying chant:
Ie, 'uria, 'uria! Oh, turn, turn! 'Uria te manuta'i ki ta'itikura, Turn the manuta'i to one side, 'Uria te papavaro ki ta'itikura. Turn the papavaro to the other side.
Figure 70.—Tattoo motifs from Aitutaki (a-e, recorded by Te Rangi Hiroa; f-i, recorded by Gudgeon). a, papavaro: continuous chevrons on abdomen and front of thighs, sometimes back. b, parepare: on shoulder, chest, and wrist, c, ruru: on wrists and forearms, d, manuta'i: vertical lines running down spine and oblique pairs running upward to mid-axillary line. e, tatatao: face pattern consisting of three series of three curved lines; first series above each eyebrow resembling Maori tiwhana motif, second series from either side of nose around corner of mouth resembling Maori kawe motif, and third series on chin. f, puapua-inano (male pandanus flower), g, komua. h, paeko. i, punarua.
I obtained a number of tattooing motifs in New Zealand from a Mangaian named Taniera Tangitoru. These, recorded in 1911 (67, pp. 95, 97), are shown in figure 71, a-m. Two others (fig. 71, n, o) were later obtained in Mangaia.
The four Mangaians who came to the International Exhibition in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1906, were tattooed with various combinations of the following motifs: ruru and mokora on arms, pa'oro on legs, puvakevake on shoulders and upper arm, manuta'i on forearm, maurua on abdomen, and a partly finished tuata'iti on the back. The repeated three rays in the puvake-vake motif was said by Tangitoru to represent the three original tribes of Mangaia.
Figure 71.—Tattoo motifs from Mangaia. a, puwakewake: on chest, shoulder and upper arm. b, manuta'i: encircles forearm with lower points toward hand; c, motupoki: curved double line following curve of hand between thumb and forefinger with ends on proximal phalanx of thumb and forefinger; d, e, ruru or kau: around wrist below manuta'i with points toward fingers; f, mokora: crosses on back of hand and fingers; g, pa'oro: on lower leg from knee to ankle; h, vava'anga: just above knee; i, pote'a: on thigh above vava'anga in sets of four to encircle limb; j, tuata'iti: mesial lines along spine and oblique lines extending to mid-axillary line; resembles Aitutaki manuta'i motif (fig. 70, d); k, maurua: named after a star and tattooed on abdomen and other parts; 1, purauti: face motif with curved base toward ear and apex toward nose; m, ngutu (lip): female pattern on upper lip; n, poe rauti: face pattern with point toward ear; o, mokomoko: heel pattern of curved line on either side of tendo Achillis.
The rau teve motif (rau, leaf; teve, species of wild arrowroot) as the name implies is taken from the leaf of the teve. The main part of the motif consists of the leaf stalk with three or four divisions turned toward the ear and the accessory part of a number of spaced figures in hour-glass form but with the page 132sides straight instead of curved. The number of hour-glass figures between the leaf and the middle line of the neck ranges from four to six depending on the size of the motifs and the spacing between them. (See figure 72, a, b, c.)
Figure 72.—Tattooing motifs from Rarotonga. a, rau teve, on Tupai, on left side of neck but transposed in drawing to right side for comparison with b: 1, rau teve with three lobes and small lozenge-shaped space left untattooed; 2, hour-glass motif with triangular spaces not filled in on each side; four to the middle line (3) with one on other side when Tupai refused to allow second half to be completed. b, rau teve of Pakitoa on right side: 1, rau teve with four lobes with upper part touching lower end of mastoid bone (4) and end 16 mm. from attachment of ear lobe (5); 2, hour-glass motif of which there are four, but midline of neck (3) passes through middle of fourth, c, rau teve of Tai Uritaua on right with four-lobed leaf and six hour-glass motifs of which the sixth (6) reaches the midline of the neck and the next (7) on the other side is outlined, not filled in. d, ruru: wrist pattern which completely encircled the right forearm of Pakitoa at the lower end of the radius; lines 1 mm. thick. e, ruru: pattern on back of left wrist of Pakitoa 56 mm. long, f, 'etu (star): five-pointed star on back of left hand of Pakitoa on ulnar side with rau teve on radial side; same as Mangaian maurua motif.
It is evident that ruru as a term for the pattern around the wrist was shared by people in all the islands, but inhabitants of each island express it in a different form. The difference in the other motifs used in individual islands is equally marked. Hence, though tattooing was shared by all, any set pattern that may have been used in the homeland was evidently not adhered to after diffusion of the people to the various islands of Polynesia.
Painting and Staining
On special occasions people rubbed parts of the body and the face with charcoal to darken it. Warriors did it to make themselves appear more ferocious. Sometimes it was used as a sign of mourning, and Cook (20, p. 204) records the following information from Atiu: "…upon seeing one man, who was painted all over a deep black colour, and inquiring the reason, our gentlemen were told, that he had lately been paying the last good offices to a deceased friend.…" The black soot from candlenut kernels used in tattooing was probably used as a paint instead of wood charcoal which was merely rubbed on.
Various other colors were also used, for Williams (81, p. 67) says of the people of Aitutaki who came out in canoes to meet his ship: "…Some were painted most fantastically, with pipe-clay and yellow and red ochre; others were smeared all over with charcoal, dancing, shouting, and exhibiting the most frantic gestures."
Williams (81, p. 175), in giving the Tahitian missionary Papeiha's account of a scene on a native temple in Rarotonga, says of the people gathered there: "Some had one side of their body blackened with charcoal, others were painted in stripes of all the colours they could procure. …"
During mourning, it was customary for the near of kin or intimate friends to exaggerate their grief for the deceased by cutting the skin with sharp shells or flakes to allow the flow of blood to relieve their feelings. The older women were particularly prone to this form of expression and Cook (20, p. 195) in speaking of women of advanced age in Atiu, says: "…many were cut, in oblique lines, all over the fore-part of the body; and some of the wounds, which formed rhomboidal figures, had been so lately inflicted, that the coagulated blood still remained in them."
These self-inflicted wounds were on the forepart of the body, and oblique lines were the natural direction in reaching across the body with the sharp shell. The rhomboidal figures were due to crossing the cuts rather than to design. When the wounds healed they left scars but such scars were merely the tokens of a grief custom and are not to be confounded with the ornamental scarification of Melanesia and other areas.