Samoan Material Culture
The 'ie class of kilt is distinguished by an important change in technique. The braid commencement (fili) and the suspensory cord attachment (fatu) are both discarded. Plaiting (lalanga) now assumes primary importance for page 260not only is the plaited band made deeper but the garment is commenced at the lower left hand corner in the orthodox plaiting commencement characteristic of Samoan textiles ('ie). The garments are thus called 'ie to distinguish them from the suspensory class of kilt (titi) in which the plaited band of the last two types is secondary as regards technique. To distinguish the 'ie kilt from the full sized 'ie garment, the qualifying word pupu'u (short) is added to 'ie while tutu refers to the characteristic braided tails which stand out from all the edges, hence the full name of the garment, 'ie tutu pupu'u.
Owing to the plaiting commencement and all the weft ends being braided into tails, the garment has to be attached around the waist by a separate cord which has no structural connection with it.
Figure 146.—Left corner commencement of all 'ie garments:
a, a sinistral weft (1) is crossed by a dextral weft (2) and a second sinistral (3) is crossed over the dextral; b, the lower end of the first sinistral (1) is turned over at right angles to cross above the second sinistral (3) and function as a dextral. The turn defines the commencement of the lower edge of the garment. c, A third sinistral (4) is added parallel with (3) and below the upper dextral (2) and above the lower dextral (1) to comply with check technique. Observe that the plaiting is moving to the right by the addition of fresh strips as sinistral wefts. d, The lower end of the second sinistral (3) is turned over at right angles to cross the third sinistral (4), function as a dextral, and continue the definition of the lower edge. Observe that while fresh sinistrals are formed by adding new strips of material, the fresh dextrals are formed by turning up the lower ends of the sinistrals at lower edge. e, The plaiting is advanced another step by adding another sinistral (5) over the dextrals (2 and 3) and under (1) to comply with check technique and then turning the lower end of the sinistral (4) over it to define the edge and act as a dextral. The formation of the left corner is commenced by turning the lowest sinistral (1) on the left at right angles to function as a dextral by running parallel above the dextral weft (2). In passing into position, the upper end of the sinistral (4) is raised above it to continue the check technique. f, The lower end of the corner weft (2), which was the only original dextral laid down, makes two half turns to run back into the body of the plaiting, parallel with the upper side of (1). To comply with check technique, it must pass under the sinistrals (3 and 5) and over (4). This turn defines the left corner and commences the left edge. g, The sinistral (3) is turned in with a half turn to continue the edge. It passes under (4) and over (5) and functions as a dextral. The next sinistral (4) continues the left edge by passing under (5). The commencing corner is now completed, being bordered by the clear edges below and on the left to form a clear triangle, of which the base is the weft (5). The triangle may be made larger by turning in the weft (5) and successive wefts at both the lower and left edges.
The 'ie tutu pupu'u is the highest development of the kilt. They were made for young men and women of high rank to use in the ceremonial dances on important occasions.
Figure 147.—Textile kilt, first working section with left corner, lower edge, right corner and right edge:
a, the left corner shows the double sinistral (5, 5') in position in the shed provided by the two series of working dextrals, of which the turned back series is shown cut off so as not to obscure the clear corner. The sinistral (4) is also shown in position before turning in the ends at both edges, while the wefts (1, 2, and 3) have already been turned. b, The sinistral (4) is turned in over the double sinistral (5, 5') at the lower border to complete the lower edge of the corner. The check movement is completed over (5, 5'). The new double sinistral (6, 6') is placed in the shed provided. With the next check movement, the upper element (5) of the last double sinistral is turned up over (6, 6') to define the lower edge and reinforce the working dextrals while the lower element (5') is left projecting as a fringe element. Similarly, when the new weft (7, 7') is laid in position, the upper element (6) of the last weft is turned in to define the edge while the lower element (6') remains as a fringe element. The plaiting proceeds to the right by adding a double sinistral after each movement. The new sinistrals are placed so as to leave a sufficient length for the fringe. With each movement, the upper element of the preceding sinistral turns upwards to define the lower edge and provide a new working dextral at the lower end of the working edge, while the lower element remains projecting from the lower edge to provide the fringe. c, On reaching the full width, the right corner is defined in the same manner as the left (fig. 146), but the elements naturally run in the opposite direction. Here the last weft defining the lower edge is (1, 1'). The lower element (1') is left out for the fringe, while the upper element (1) after making two half turns, passes over the sinistral (2, 2') to define the corner and functions again as a sinistral. The next double weft leaves the lower element (2') out for the fringe while the upper element (2) by making two half turns completes the corner, commences the right edge and functions again as a sinistral. As there is no necessity to keep the right corner clear, the sinistral strip (2") is laid over (2) as it lies in the shed. The strip (2") is placed with sufficient length projecting on the right to provide a fringe element. The next movement of the working dextrals includes the double weft (2, 2") in the plaiting. Thus the weft (2) lost one element at the lower edge but gained another at the right edge. The next dextral (3) which reaches the right edge is turned in to act as a sinistral and continue the definition of the right edge. The fringe element (3") is added to it and similarly the fringe element (4") to the weft (4). The dextral weft (5) shows the half turn at the edge, where it is changed into a functioning sinistral and lies in the shed before the addition of the fringe element. Thus the right edge is formed as in usual plaiting by turning in the dextrals as they reach the edge. The change of direction converts them into sinistrals but before they are covered, fresh strips to form the fringe are added to them.
The completion of the commencing corner provides an oblique working edge formed by a number of working dextrals. From the working section thus provided, a section of plaiting is carried towards the right for the full width of the garment. As the plaiting proceeds, the lower edge is continued and fringe elements provided. On reaching the full width, the right lower corner is formed as well as the right edge of the garment for the depth of the section. In forming the right edge, fringe elements are also provided. (See fig. 147.)
On completion of the first working section, another section is commenced on the left. The left edge has to be built up above the commencing corner, and in doing so, fringe elements have to be provided for. In the lower working sections, the fringe elements of the left edge are provided by the one element of the double sinistrals as they reach the edge. Higher up the left edge the fringe is formed by adding new elements. The right edge with the addition of fringe elements remains the same throughout. The body of the garment continues in check throughout, but when the garment reaches a certain depth, a row of fringe elements is run across the body from left to right. The methods of providing the fringe elements on the left and on the body are shown in figure 148.
When the garment reaches a depth of about 11 inches, the upper finishing edge is defined as the last working section advances from left to right. The finishing edge must be formed as in the other three edges by turning in one set of elements to form a turned edge, and leaving another set of elements to provide the fringe. The usual method is shown in figure 149.
An alternate finish to the upper edge, not so neat, is shown in figure 150. There the last working section was left along the upper edge in the ordinary condition of plaiting edges. What would have been an insecure finish is remedied by the braided tail technique.
With the ending of the last working section, the body of the garment is completed with all four edges clearly defined, and fringe elements projecting from all. The fringe elements are then finished off by plaiting them into three-ply braid tails.
The fringe elements are braided for a short distance, tied, and the ends left free as a fringe. (See fig. 149.) A different technique is used in the garment with the plaiting edge finish. (See fig. 150.) All the fringe elements page 263on all four borders are braided as shown. Where any wider intervals occur, as in figure 149, 5, strips of bast are passed through the plaiting, doubled around the edge, and plaited into three-ply braid. The sides of the commencing corners are often treated in a similar manner. The commencing corner, however, can always be distinguished from the manner in which the fringe elements have been added.
Three varieties of textile kilts are figured in the Plates, each with some variation in technique, dyeing or material.
Figure 148.—Textile kilt, fringe additions on left edge and body:
a, the clear left edge of the commencing corner is defined by the half turns of the wefts (1-4). When the plaiting movement is made over the weft above (4) both elements (5, 5') project beyond the left edge. When the next sinistral (6, 6') is laid in the shed, the upper element (5) of the preceding sinistral is turned in under it to define the edge while the lower element (5') is left projecting as the fringe element. Similarly when the next double sinistral (7, 7') is laid in position, the upper element (6) of the preceding sinistral is turned in under it to continue the edge while the other element (6') continues the fringe. Thus, the left edge is continued by turning in the sinistrals as they reach the edge. As, however, the wefts are double and a fringe has to be provided, the upper elements turn in to define the edge and provide working dextrals while the lower elements provide the fringe. The left edge is built up sufficiently to give the depth of a working section, when the section is carried across to the right edge. b, As the plaiting deepens, the sinistrals occupy a longer course and some are not so thick on reaching the left edge. The whole weft as in (1') is turned in to define the left edge, both elements continue on as dextrals and no element is separated from the sinistral end of their course to provide a fringe element. Fresh strips as (1) are added to their dextral course to provide the fringe. The fresh strip is laid down first and the sinistral turned into its dextral course above it. Thus the fringe elements of the deeper part of the left edge run in an opposite direction to those in the first part of the edge (a). All the fringe elements on the left in (b) are shown under the functioning dextrals. c, A row of fringe elements was added across the body of the garment when the plaiting had reached a depth of about 10.5 inches. As the sinistrals are laid in the shed provided at the working edge, fresh strips (4) are placed above them with their lower ends projecting" downwards. Each movement includes the fresh strip in the plaiting as elements of the sinistral wefts while the lower ends project free on the completed plaiting to form a fringe. Thus the wefts numbered (2) form the series of working dextrals left down, while those numbered (1) represent the raised series. The sinistral (3) is laid in the shed formed. Another strip, such as (4), will be laid on (3) and the plaiting movement completed. By repeating the addition of a strip with each movement, the row of fringe ends runs in an even line from left to right across the full width of the garment. The above technique is simply the method of adding fresh strip to shortening sinistral wefts but instead of the lower ends being cut off short they are purposely left long.
The garment in Plate XXIV, A, was dyed in a mixture of black candlenut, lama, and brown 'o'a and afterwards smoked to darken it further. All the edges were made with the usual half turns and the braided tails followed the technique in fig. 149.
The second variety (Pl. XXIV, B) is a larger and better looking garment, but three edges follow the ordinary plaiting edge technique. (See fig. 150.) The lower edge follows the orthodox technique of turning up one element of each double sinistral (fig. 147), but on the left edge, the whole sinistral projects to form the fringe while new double dextrals are added from the edge with their ends also projecting to form a double set of fringe elements. On the right edge, the dextrals as they reach the edge are not turned but the whole wefts are left projecting as fringe elements. Fresh sinistrals are added from the right edge also with their ends projecting to form a double set of fringe elements. At the upper edge, the ordinary plaiting
Figure 149.—Textile kilt, upper edge, fringe and braided tails.
The oblique working edge of the last working section is shown with both series of working dextrals (1 to 13) down. The upper edge is defined by turning in the dextral wefts as they reach the edge. After each movement, the sinistral from below is laid in the shed and the top member of the working dextrals is turned down upon it to be disposed of as a sinistral element. At the lower end of the working edge, they project down on the completed plaiting as fringe elements (3). In some garments they may be cut off short, but in others they join the fringe elements described in figure 148, c. The sinistral wefts (4) as they reach the upper edge are left projecting to provide fringe elements. Two adjacent fringe elements are split into three strands, plaited into a braid tail for about 2.5 inches and bound by one of the plies, making a half-hitch around the other two (6). The fringe strips are about 18 inches long and the free ends after the plaiting of the braid form a fringe. A bare interval is left near the left corner (5) where no fringe elements were added so as not to confuse the corner technique.
Figure 150.—Textile kilt, alternate plaiting edge finish, and braid tails.
The ordinary plaiting edge finish is shown on the right, where the dextrals (4) and the sinistrals (3) project in their natural direction after the last check crossing. The same finish was also used on the side edges. The braid tails are formed by taking two elements of each crossing set and either combining the extra weft with one of the plies or splitting it into two and adding a part to two plies. Thus on the left, two sinistral elements (1) have been combined with two dextrals (2) to form the three-ply braid (6). The plies are braided for about three inches and fixed by tying the two outer plies into a single overhand knot (5). The remainder of the plies forms a fringe. In the technique figured in figure 148, c, the additional sinistral wefts that formed the fringe on the body with their lower ends also added to the upper edge fringe with their upper ends. The completion of the last section of plaiting also automatically completes the upper edge and the upper end of the right edge.
Figure 151.—Textile fau pata kilt, arrangement of tags.
Tags 6 or 7 inches long of the same material as the wefts, are twisted around the dextral wefts in transverse and oblique rows as the plaiting proceeds. Seven rows are made from left to right across the full width of the garment, dividing it into eight panels. Commencing from below, each alternate panel (1) is crossed by parallel oblique rows which follow the line of the oblique working edge. These panels from below up are 3, 2, 3, and 2.5 inches in depth while the number of oblique rows in each panel is 20, 12, 13, and 10 respectively. The bare panels (2) from below up are 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 1 inches in depth respectively. The arrangement is figured as it foreshadows the closer arrangement of tags on the shaggy cloaks.
Fine mat kilt ('ie lavalava). A dance kilt of the same material and plaiting as the fine mats is called 'ie lavalava. (See Pl. XXVI, B.) The sinistrals on the left and the dextrals on the right are turned in to define plain side edges. At the upper border, the wefts are simply left free along the plaiting edge to form a fringe of natural weft ends. At the lower border, a similar plaiting edge was formed. Here both dextrals and sinistrals are taken in small groups, divided into three, and plaited as free braids for 3 inches. The two outer plies are then knotted and the free ends form a 12-inch fringe. To the lower ends of the braided tails, red and green feathers are tied. Other ornamentation consisting of a marginal strip of bast and strips of lau 'ie to form side fringes have been sewn on with a sewing machine and belong to the period of over-ornamentation created by foreign contact.