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The Coming of the Maori

Plain Cloaks with Taniko Borders

Plain Cloaks with Taniko Borders

In developing geometrical designs in taniko work, the use of triangles and lozenges required more depth than the simple oblique bands in the dogskin cloak borders. Thus if a triangle forming the upper half of a lozenge took 16 weft rows, it took another 16 rows to complete the motif. Consequently the taniko borders were much wider than the narrow borders of dogskin cloaks. However, as the narrow borders in two colours had apparently become established as the correct decoration for dogskin cloaks, the taniko bands were not applied to them. The same reservation seems to have been applied to the established cloaks made with a two-pair weft. Thus the Maori craftsmen solved the difficulty by inventing a special kind of cloak on which to display taniko borders. The fibre of these cloaks was not washed or pounded, in order that the yellowish tint of the natural fibre should form a further distinction from the other types of cloaks. They were woven with the spaced two-pair weft and, as the body was plain without any attachments, the weaving commenced at the neck border instead of the bottom. The neck was thus plain without the elaborate neck finish of cloaks which were woven upside down. Narrow bands of taniko were attached to the two sides and a deeper, more elaborate band was attached to the lower border.

The plain cloaks with taniko borders divide into two classes.

1.Parawai or Kaitaka. Weaving commenced with the neck border and, when worn, the weft rows ran horizontally as in other cloaks. A variation termed huaki had double side and lower borders (Pl. XV).
2.Paepaeroa. The body was woven in horizontal weft rows according to the established technique but on completion, the first row was turned to the left to form the left border and the taniko borders were attached to the side and lower borders so formed. When worn the weft rows ran vertically instead of horizontally and hence caused confusion to writers page 174who thought that the weft rows had been woven vertically by some different technique.