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Samoan Material Culture



In Samoa, the wall screens and better food platters, both plaited in twill, are characteristic. The wall screens occasionally used in the Cook Islands are made with a check stroke in the same way as the Samoan carrying sheets. The Samoan method of plaiting the coconut half sheet by leaving the first leaflet odd and plaiting the subsequent leaflets in crossing pairs is a local detail. The rough basket made with a single strip of half coconut leaf is the common type in Samoa, whereas the common basket to the east is made of a full leaf section in which the leaflets of both sides are first plaited and the bottom closed before the leaf midrib is split to form the basket rim. The single strip half leaf basket is also made in the east but the join with the last leaflet twisted over the rim seems to be local to Samoa. In the various forms of twilled baskets, the methods of twisting the leaflets at the rim and the combinations of stroke are similar in both areas.

The Samoan floor mats are coarse as compared with eastern mats. In the Cook Islands, the sleeping mats reach a high development as regards colored page 668borders, while in Hawaii the makaloa mats reach the highest development in fine work. In Samoa, fine plaiting was directed towards mats used as clothing on state occasions.