kapa kulture

This blog is dedicated to Hawaiian kapa and matters related to Hawai'i nei…kuku kapa e!

Archive for the tag “wauke”

Hawaiian Word of the Day: ʻumeke

ʻumeke: Bowl, calabash, circular vessel, as of wood or gourd. ʻUmeke kāʻeo, a well-filled calabash [a well-filled mind]. ʻUmeke pala ʻole, calabash without a dab [empty bowl, empty mind]. hoʻo.ʻumeke, hōʻumeke. To assume the shape of a bowl; to assume the shape of fruit, to bear fruit. Fig., to have enough to eat. E pua ana ka ʻōhiʻa ʻai a hōʻumeke i ka malama o Hinaiaʻeleʻele, the mountain apple blooms and fruits form in the month of Hinaiaʻeleʻele.

ipu umeke

ʻumeke ʻai: Poi bowl. Fig., source of food, of the uplands.
ʻumeke ipu kai: Bowl, as for serving meat or salty meat.
ʻumeke kepekepe: Bowl with horizontal flat panels. Lit., wedged bowl.
ʻumeke lāʻau: Wooden bowl.
ʻumeke mānaʻai: Very small bowl, as formerly used for poi by favorite children. Lit., poi mouth-fed bowl.
ʻumeke ʻōpaka: Bowl with vertical panels with vertical edges between them.
ʻumeke palapaʻa: Thick-bottomed wooden calabash. Lit., firm-dabbed bowl, perhaps so called because dabs of poi are held firm in this type of calabash that does not upset.
ʻumeke pāwehe: A decorated gourd bowl, as made on Niʻihau.
ʻumeke pōhue: Gourd calabash.

ipu-umeke

Photo found on the Kaʻahele Hawaiʻi Website. Click below to access more information on Hawaiian ipu and more resources for Hawaiian culture and arts.

Na Ipu O Hawaiʻi

Hawaiian Kapa

Relationships between Polynesian island groups are evident in the technology of bark cloth fabrication and design methods. But there are also connections to more esoteric beliefs. One such connection between Hawaiʻi and Tahiti is found in the word hiapo. According to Mary Pukui in her book, “The Polynesian Family System in Kaʻu Hawaiʻi” (1999), the significance of the bark cloth hiapo is related to a special term applying to first born children. Mrs. Pukui suggests that the Hawaiian use of this word reflects the origins of Hawaiian aliʻi coming from Tahiti in ancient days. Hiapo in the Marquesas and Tahiti refers to the cloth which covers the first born child of high rank. Hiapo is used in Hawaiian language to describe a child’s relationship in the family ie., “kuʻu hiapo” which means, my first-born applied to male or female children of rank, or ko makou hiapo, first-born of our family” (Handy & Pukui, pp.46-47, 1999).

In Hawaiʻi, the generic Polynesian term, tapa is called kapa. It is most refined in Hawaiʻi and is recognized as “a variety unsurpassed by any other culture of the Pacific” (Pacific Tapa, p. 91, 1997). The paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera), called wauke, in Hawaiian, was grown in abundance in the old days for kapa production. It was used mainly for blankets and clothing. Women dressed in the pāʻū skirt. Men wore the loincloth malo, which was folded to show designs on both sides. A kihei was a cape worn by both men and women. The kihei was useful for cold weather but it was also a garment used particularly during ceremonies.

Ways That Hawaiians Used Kapa Cloth

Priests wore white kapa at ceremonial times. The kapa used in the heiau (place of religious worship), was pure white, undyed, and undecorated (Ancient Hawaiian Civilization, A Lecture Series from Kamehameha Schools, 1979). Religious function included wrapping god images in fine white kapa, and covering heiau towers which were treated as places for the gods to enter.

Bed coverings were made that consisted of five separate sheets sewn together, two and a half, to three yards long, squared. Soiled blankets and clothing were washed carefully, pounded again and reassembled. Uses were determined by different grades or quality of thickness:

Thick, firm pieces for the sleeping houses, which were sewn into layers for added warmth

Delicate lacy and silken pieces for wrapping newborn aliʻi

Oiled kapa, saturated with kukui nut oil or coconut oil for waterproofing and strengthening. This was used to make clothing for fishermen, feather-gatherers and bird-catchers, and covers for canoes

Coarse kapa was used for covering the walls of the anuʻu or oracle’s tower in a heiau. Sometimes this was used to cover the food to be cooked in the imu (oven), before the earth layer was added.

Small twisted pieces were used as wicks in kukui nut lamps

Pieces were tied on trees and along pathways as kapu (sacred) signs and signal flags

Pieces were braided into sandals

Pieces were made into bandages and used for menstruation

Black or brown pieces were used as burial sheets

It was made into kites used as fishing aids as well as for recreation

Pieces were tied into balls at the top of puoʻuloʻu, or kapu sticks, only white was used for this purpose

During certain seasons white and red pieces were used to dress the gods. White was used more often because colors would weather, and white could be seen easily as a landmark from a distance by canoes

Kapa was very special and valued as an important item for trade and gifts. It was a sign of wealth and social status.

Kapa Tools and Processes

Ka Pa means “the beaten”. Trees other than wauke were also used to make kapa. For instance, the ʻulu, breadfruit tree (Artocarpus altilis), and the mamaki (Pipturus albidus) from the nettle family, maʻaloa, hibiscus hau, and olonā plants. Wauke was most valued and cultivated for kapa. Men and women prepared the bark. Men harvested the trees and women peeled off the bark and soaked it until soft. Women produced the majority of kapa cloth, but special hamoʻula or ribbed kapa was made by men.

Tools that were used to make kapa were the koʻi or stone adze that was used to cut the plants. A scraper made of the bony plate of a turtle, or a sharp shell such as from the ʻopihi. A stone knife, or a shark’s tooth lashed onto a wooden handle was used to split the bark, and peel it off the plant. Scrapers were used to scrape off the brown and green outer parts of the bark before beating began. After soaking the inner bark in a fresh water, a smooth stone (pohaku) was used as the anvil, or kua kuku, for the first beating. This step with the stone anvil is seen nowhere else in Polynesia. A hard wood kua kapa lāʻau anvil six to eight feet long and about six inches wide was used for the subsequent beating, until the final product is reached. The preliminary beater, hohoa, was made of a heavy hardwood measuring about a foot long and 2 or 3 inches in diameter, with a tapered handle. Another carved hardwood beater, or iʻe kuku, has four equal sides with each side having lined, grooved surfaces. One or more of the surfaces may have a particular design which imprints on the kapa similar to a watermark on fine bond paper. Other tools were a grooved board and “groover”, tool cleaners, calabashes for water and starches, and “needles” for stitching (Kawai Aonaeoka, Personal Interview, 2005).

Decoration and Dyes

Most women made kapa, but the decorations were done by women of high rank. Kapa design application took pieces that were stained already and printed colorful motifs with delicate tools of wood and bamboo that were used especially for this work.

Various dyes were made from leaves, bark, berries, and roots of native plants and colored earth. Fixatives or mordants such as seawater, urine, oil, and burned coral lime were also used to increase the color fastness of the dyes. Many colors in red, yellow, black, brown, orange, and blue were produced by boiling, infusion, and charring (Life in the Pacific of the 1700s, 2006). Some examples are the charred kukui nut which produced a black dye, the inner bark of kukui made a rich, reddish brown, tumeric root (ʻōlena) gave yellow, noni root gave red, and a silvery-green was extracted from the blossoms of the maʻo, Hawaiian cotton. There were at least fifteen different names for the different colors and qualities they produced (Ancient Hawaiian Civilization, a lecture series from Kamehameha Schools, Revised Edition, p. 141, 1979).

Dye was applied in several ways. By immersion baths, ruling with liners made of bamboo, some with tines like a fork; printing with stamps called ʻohe kāpala, made from strips of bamboo; painting with brushes made from hala keys; and using a cord dipped in dye, stretching the cord across a piece of kapa and then snapping the cord to leave the cord’s mark on the kapa (Kawai Aonaeoka, Personal Interview, 2005).

Freehand painting, which occurs in other parts of Polynesia, was not used much in Hawaiʻi. Hawaiian designs were both applied and impressed. Impressed designs were made during the final beating using the textured beaters for the watermark effect. Applied designs were applied to the upper surface of the kapa by brushing with color using the hala brush, and stamping designs with the ʻohe kāpala.

Kapa was often scented by fragrant plants laid in between folds. Maile, mokihana berries, and pieces of ʻiliahi (sandalwood) were used for this purpose.

As was commonly the case through out Polynesia, mats and kapa were signs of high chiefly status. The finest kapa were found in the dwellings of the aliʻi class, and coarser mats and kapa were used by the general population, or makaʻāinana.

Bark cloth is a very unique symbol of the South Pacific people. Until today, even thought he cloth is not used for everyday purposes such as clothing any more, the designs and style continue to be popular. We can often see kapa motifs on all kinds of products, including fabric.

Kapa moe, bed covering, on display at the Honolulu Academy of Art

Kapa moe, bed covering, on display at the Honolulu Academy of Art

kapa Lole lole o kapa na Leilehua Yuen

Hawaiian Word of the Day: loko iʻa

loko iʻa: Fish pond.

Loko Iʻa ʻAlekoko also known as "Menehune Fishpond" on Kauaʻi

Loko Iʻa ʻAlekoko also known as “Menehune Fishpond” on Kauaʻi

Loko iʻa are ecosystems created by Hawaiians for subsistence fishing. One of the most noteworthy Hawaiian innovations in this system of aquaculture is the pani wai, or dam, sluice, levee, dike. Of these, the sluice gate to ponds was a masterful invention. It allows for the minnows or baby fish to swim in, grow large within the pond, reaching a size that is too large to swim out.

The Hawaiians’ irrigation system rotated water from streams and sometimes through hand built ʻauwai (canals), to irrigate crops in the lo’i (taro patches), then returned it to the stream of origin. This system relies on a steady natural flow of nutrients to course through the stream to the sea, helping limu (algae) to grow, and fish and lobster to feed. Hawaiians took advantage of these stream-nourished coastal areas and streams to build fishponds for bountiful harvests of food. Fishponds on some islands were as large as 48 acres in coastal areas.

Classification of fish ponds at coastal areas:
loko kuapa: fish pond made by building a wall on a reef
loko wai: freshwater pond or lake
loko iʻa kalo: combination fish pond and taro patch
loko ʻume iki: fishpond with lanes leading in and / or out, used for trapping fish

Classification of fish ponds at upland areas:
akuli: to dam a stream with leaves making a forest pool
mano: dam, stream or water source, headwaters, place where water is obstructed for distribution in channels. Mud dams were made for fish and crustaceans; fish shelters were built in mud shoals.

http://sheri-majewski-art-edu.webstarts.com/community_heritage_2.html

Kapa Revival Project

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Kapa that I made over the past weeks…

This photo shows 14 pieces of kapa in a variety of sizes and textures. Some are heavy and stiff, some are thin, fine, and flexible. Many hours were spent pounding these using the hohoa and iʻe kuku to form a smooth cloth from the raw wauke tree bark, paper mulberry tree. These pieces are now ready for ho’owehi, decoration. The ʻohe kāpala are literally bamboo stamps, carved to be printing tools. I have gathered raw materials to make hoʻowaiulu, dyes. I have ʻōlena root for yellow, kukui nut ashes for black, and ʻalaea a mineral in the soil for red. I also have boiled down banana flower petals and got a brown wash. Stay tuned for the results! ~Aloha~

white kapa  kapa ke'ʻokeʻo

white kapa
kapa ke’ʻokeʻo

ʻohe kāpala, bamboo stamps

ʻohe kāpala, bamboo stamps

Video of kapa implements and processes from start to finish in a nutshell

old kapa cook eraKa Hana Kapa Video

Kapa Māna’o…(knowledge)

I had a long conversation the other night with my new friend and kapa maker extraordinaire, Dalani Tanahy www.kapahawaii.com. We hit on topics up, down, and sideways…but guided by a set of questions I held in my hand. The purpose of the call was to understand her point of view related to things of “kapa kulture.” Some of the Q’s were theoretical, political, or cultural in nature. But the practical, …oh, the practical… how wonderful to get the scoop from such a dedicated kapa master! Her wisdom and expertise inspired me to revisit several pieces of my own recently pounded kapa which I felt to be under par. I was unsatisfied with the look and feel of these pieces. I had underestimated the work involved and the previous 10 or more hours was not yet sufficient time spent to pound the wauke fibers into soft and flat submission. The result was striated sheets which were stiff and cardboard-like rather than the papery softness I was aiming for. If it was to be worn as a malo or pā’u garment, scratchy and uncomfortable to wear indeed!

Back to my kua I went, taking my kapa with me… I wet the dried sheet with sprays of misty water. After careful pounding for a couple of hours, I managed to produce a softer, whiter, and more delicate specimen that was getting closer to the ideal proposed by Hawaiian historian, Samuel Kamakau, who had declared that the “well-made tapa must be clearer than the light of the moon, whiter than the snow upon the mountains.” Kapa making is not for the faint of heart or impatient, but as an art it requires careful labor and the time to coax a smooth and graceful hand from coarse, raw material.

kapa2

Hawaiian Word of the Day: ‘ili

‘ili: 1. Skin, complexion, hide, pelt, scalp, bark, rind, peel. Ho’okae ‘ili, race prejudice; to have race prejudice. Ka ‘ili o ke po’o, scalp. Kāne i ka ‘ili, husband. ‘A’ohe mea ‘ē a’e, ‘o ka lole wale nō i ka ‘ili, there was nothing else except the clothing on the back. 2. Leather. ‘ili lahilahi, thin leather. ‘Ili mānoanoa, thick leather. 3. Surface, area. ‘ili ‘āina, ‘ilikai. 4. Binding, cover. ‘Ili pa’a, hard cover (of a book). 5. Land section, next in importance to ahupua’a and usually a subdivision of an ahupua’a. 6. Strap of any kind, as reins, harness, fan belt, machine belt; hose. 7. Pebble (less used than ‘ili’ili); kōnane pebble. 8. Square, as in measurements. A na ‘ili, square measurements (Pukui & Elbert, 1971).

‘ili lepo o waho… dirty outer bark…of wauke when making kapa. The outer bark that is scrapped off to begin the process of making kapa.

'ili lepo o waho

‘ili lepo o waho

Hawaiian Word of the Day: lawa

lawa: 1. Enough, sufficient, ample; to have enough, be satisfied. Lawa pono, plenty, abundant, ample, adequate. Lawa pono ‘ole, insufficient, deficit. Ka’a i ka lawa, to be enough. ho’olawa. To supply, apportion sufficiently, equip. E ho’olawa mai ‘oe i lau hala e pa’a ai keīa moena, supply me enough pandanus leaves to finish this mat. 2. Possessed of enough or ample knowledge, hence wise, capable, competent. Ua lawa ke ‘ike, knowing a great deal. Ua lawa i ka hānai keiki, wise in raising children. 3. As soon as, I lawa nō ā pau ka hana ho’i kāua, as soon as the work is finished, we’ll leave. 4. Strong, husky; strong man, as in a king’s retinue, lawakua. 5. To bind, make fast, tie securely. 6. White, as of a cock or dog. Moa lawa, moa lawa kea, white cock. 7. A large shark fishhook.

lawa wauke i ho'omo'omo'o

lawa pono wauke i ho’omo’omo’o

Hawaiian Word of the Day: lauhuki

lauhuki: 1. Tapa-soaking, to soak tapa. 2. (Cap.) Name of a goddess worshiped by tapa makers.

lauhuki

lauhuki

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