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Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

The Absence of Pottery and the Bow Proves that — there was no Negroid Substratum

The Absence of Pottery and the Bow Proves that
there was no Negroid Substratum

(6) Now, one of the most striking features of the culture of Polynesia is the same palaeolithic absence of pottery. Tonga is the only exception, and its proximity to Fiji gives the reason, for Melanesia has it as a primitive art; so, too, has Papuasia, except a few Polynesian colonies on the north-east coast of New Guinea, and in these the Polynesian character of the culture is confirmed by the absence of the bow, a weapon that is not distinctive of Indonesia, but spreads down from the eastern islands of the Philippines, through Ceram, New Guinea, and the Melanesian groups.

(7) The absence of pottery and the bow from Polynesia makes it quite certain that the Melanesian and Papuan substratum of population commonly assumed in that region is a fiction. The absence of pottery is most decisive, for it is a household industry, and managed by the women in all primitive peoples; and even if the men were subdued, the women would have been taken into the households of the new-comers and been allowed to conserve their old arts. The bow might have been suppressed in war, as the despised weapon of the conquered; but pottery would still have been used. The negroid features that appear in some Polynesians came in with the last immigrants or aristocracy. The women page 247of the islands try to flatten out the nostrils of their children from infancy.