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The Coming of the Maori

Other Motifs

Other Motifs

The scroll motif so common in painted rafter designs was rarely used in wood carving and appears to be a late borrowing from painting. An example is shown on the side borders of the spiral motif in Figure 92a.Note that the scroll motif is defined by hatching the background with parallel grooves.

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The use of parallel sharp-edged ridges enclosing beaded lines is common and Anaha also carved a series of named designs as shown in Figure 94. The rauponga (a) consists of a vertical beaded line with oblique parallel ridges and beaded lines on either side. From the name, the median vertical lines evidently represented the midrib of a tree fern leaf and the oblique lines represented the pinnae of the leaf, hence rauponga(rau, leaf; ponga, tree fern). The whakatara (b) received its name from the serrated side edges of the design (whaka, causative verb prefix; tara, sharp point). The waharua (c) is a lozenge design with a long ellipse separating it into two, and hence waha (mouth) and rua (two). The whakarare (d) illustrates a favourite technique of interrupting a beaded line by curving the ridges of one side across to meet the ridges on the other side. In long, single beaded lines, it was the correct technique to make the curved crossings alternately from each side. The unaunahi(e) introduces a series of short ellipses formed of parallel curved ridges. In some such ellipses, the enclosed core is beaded.

In the carving patterns carved by Anaha, the sharp ridges bounding the beaded lines are in threes and the width of the three ridges is the same as that of the beaded motif. It is evident that the craftsman divided his field by grooving bars or panels of equal width. He treated alternate bars by making two more grooves in them to form three sharp ridges and grooved the other alternate bars transversely to form the beaded lines.

The patterns shown in Figure 94a-drepresent the rectilinear part of Maori carving. They were used as subsidiary additions to the larger carved figures but they formed the main designs on many of the carved boxes for holding feathers and ornaments. See Plate XX.