The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 290 pages of information about The Mafulu.

As the hammering proceeds the bark becomes thinner and larger in surface, and when this process is finished, the cloth is hung up to dry.

The colouring of the cloth, if and when this is added, is done by men only, and, like body-staining, is nearly always in either red, yellow, or black.  The red stain is obtained from the two sorts of earth used for red face and body-staining, being, as in the other case, mixed with water or animal fat, so as to produce a paste.  Another source of red stain used for cloth is the fruit of a wild tree growing in the bush, which fruit they chew and spit out.  I do not know what the tree is, but I do not think it is the Pandanus, whose fruit is, I believe, used for body-staining.  The yellow stain is obtained from the root of a plant which I understand to be rather like a ginger.  They dry the root in the sun, and afterwards crush it and soak it in water, and the water so coloured becomes the pigment to be used.  The black stain is obtained in the same way as that used for face-staining.  These dyes are put on to the cloth with the fingers, which the men dip into the dye, or with feathers.  In making a design they do not copy from a pattern placed before them, nor do they first trace the design on the cloth.


In dealing with netting, I should begin with the making of the string; but, as I think the method adopted is not confined to the mountains, it is perhaps sufficient to refer to my previous description of thread-making in connection with the manufacture of leg-bands; though in most netting the strings are necessarily very much thicker and stronger than are the threads used for leg-bands, and they are three-stranded.

Hunting and fishing nets are made by men in a simple open form of netting, worked on the common principle of the reef knot, and having diamond-shaped holes, with a knot at each corner of each hole.  I shall refer to this form of netting as “ordinary network.”  The nets are made of thick, strong material, except as regards the hand fishing nets, which are made of the fine material used for making leg-bands.  These nets are never coloured.

Hammocks are made by men.  They are sometimes done entirely with ordinary network, and are then, I think, similar to Mekeo-made hammocks; but often only two or three lines of netting are done in this way, the rest of the net being made in a closer and finer pattern of interlacing knotless network, which is never adopted on the coast and Mekeo plains (all nets of this description found there having come down from the mountains) and which I will call “Mafulu network.” [90] I have watched the making of one of these nets, and will endeavour to describe the process.  The ultimate result of the Mafulu network part of this is shown in Plate 81.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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