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Arts of Melanesia

by: Savannah McNealy

Arts of Melanesia ART 316

Savannah McNealy

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Arts of Melanesia lecture notes
Art of the Pacific
Dr. David Riep
Class Notes
Art History
25 ?




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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Savannah McNealy on Thursday March 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ART 316 at Colorado State University taught by Dr. David Riep in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Art of the Pacific in Art History at Colorado State University.


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Date Created: 03/10/16
Arts  of  Melanesia Tuesday,  March  8,  2016 12:31  PM The  Kula  Ring • Trading  of  shells:  create  political  alliances  and  bonding  between  islanders • Gift  economy • White  shells:  arm  embellishments ○ Travelled  clockwise • Red  shells:  necklaces ○ Travelled  counterclockwise • Traded  to  create  relationships  and  enhance  personal  status • The  person  who  gives  something  has  to  receive  something  of  lesser  value • You  didn't  keep  the  things  you  traded • Items  develop  a  biography ○ An  items  status  is  enhanced  by  it's  owners • Navigation  Charts ○ Chart  movements  of  the  tides  to  map  open  water ○ That's  how  they  got  from  one  place  to  the  next  with  only  ocean  as  a  guide New  Britain  (New  Pomerania) • Largest  island  in  the  Bismarck  archipelago   • Under  German  Colonia  Rule ○ Forced  local  inhabitants  to  work  in  order  to  earn  cash  to  pay  a  tax • Home  to  50  different  cultural  groups ○ Tolai  people § Barkcloth,  feathers,  fibers,  pigment § Tubuan  /  Duk  Du  ociety  Tubuamasks § **Matrilineal**   very  very  unique § Dane  Wan  Bair □ Performance  Art □ Activity  for  increase  (fertility,  agriculture,  etc) □ Tabalivana ® Class  of  spirits  that  if  we  plug  into  we  can  use  for  our   betterment □ ONLY  USED  DURING  MALE  ONLY  PERFORMANCES □ Stored  in  men  meeting  houses □ Made  by  male  carvers Arts  of  Melanesia Tuesday,  March  8,  2016 12:31  PM The  Kula  Ring • Trading  of  shells:  create  political  alliances  and  bonding  between  islanders • Gift  economy • White  shells:  arm  embellishments ○ Travelled  clockwise • Red  shells:  necklaces ○ Travelled  counterclockwise • Traded  to  create  relationships  and  enhance  personal  status • The  person  who  gives  something  has  to  receive  something  of  lesser  value • You  didn't  keep  the  things  you  traded • Items  develop  a  biography ○ An  items  status  is  enhanced  by  it's  owners • Navigation  Charts ○ Chart  movements  of  the  tides  to  map  open  water ○ That's  how  they  got  from  one  place  to  the  next  with  only  ocean  as  a  guide New  Britain  (New  Pomerania) • Largest  island  in  the  Bismarck  archipelago   • Under  German  Colonia  Rule ○ Forced  local  inhabitants  to  work  in  order  to  earn  cash  to  pay  a  tax • Home  to  50  different  cultural  groups ○ Tolai  people § Barkcloth,  feathers,  fibers,  pigment § Tubuan  /  Duk  Du  ociety  Tubuamasks § **Matrilineal**   very  very  unique § Dane  Wan  Bair □ Performance  Art □ Activity  for  increase  (fertility,  agriculture,  etc) □ Tabalivana ® Class  of  spirits  that  if  we  plug  into  we  can  use  for  our   betterment □ ONLY  USED  DURING  MALE  ONLY  PERFORMANCES □ Stored  in  men  meeting  houses □ Made  by  male  carvers ® Class  of  spirits  that  if  we  plug  into  we  can  use  for  our   betterment □ ONLY  USED  DURING  MALE  ONLY  PERFORMANCES □ Stored  in  men  meeting  houses □ Made  by  male  carvers □ Images  of  spirits □ Women  communicate  the  design  to  the  men □ Used  in  music  centered  performances □ The  knowledge  of  music  and  music  itself  is  a  sacred  gift □ Choreographers,  musicians,  dancers,  etc  are  the  elite □ The  serrated  edge  and  stylized  image  of  the  spirit ® There  must  be  at  least  one  anthropomorphic  element □ White,  yellow,  pink,  blue ® White,  yellow  and  pink  are  made  from  pollen ® Blue  is  from  trade ◊ Brings  status  and  authority § Tubuanmask  (Duk  Duk  society) □ These  figures  come  out  during  celebrations,  funerals,  male   initiation,  etc □ Cone  shape □ Made  of  cane  and  overlaid  with  fibers,  hollow,  light □ Invoke  different  type  of  spirits □ Tubuanfemale □ Duk  Duk  male □ Mask  covers  whole  body  besides  legs □ It  was  very  expensive  to  be  a  part  of   Duk  Duk ® You  used  cowrie  shells □ If  a  woman  or  child  saw  the   Duk  Dukwithout  their  mask  they   were  killed □ Woman  and  children  were  only  allowed  to  see  them  when   they  were  making  a  degree □ The  Duk  Dukcarry  around  their  money  with  them ○ Baining  people § Barkcloth  cane,  fibers,  pigment § Kavat § Vungvung § "the  dullest  culture  in  the  world" § Mask  Kavat □ Celebrate  female  traits  like  birth,  etc □ Only  used  at  night,  you  dance  in  the  fire □ Strictly  male  activity □ Representations  of  the  natural  world ® Phenomena ® Boomerang  shape  resembles  the  shoulder  blade  of  a  pig   □ Celebrate  female  traits  like  birth,  etc □ Only  used  at  night,  you  dance  in  the  fire □ Strictly  male  activity □ Representations  of  the  natural  world ® Phenomena ® Boomerang  shape  resembles  the  shoulder  blade  of  a  pig   ® Leaf  spirits □ Vungvung ® Spider ® Butterfly § Color  palette  is  black  and  red,  and  the  red  is  painted  on  with  blood   from  cutting  your  tongue § Very  strict  access  to  guests § Headdress  EffigyH   areiga □ Counterpart  to  the  Kavat  masks □ Day  dances  that  women  have  access  to □ Aimed  at  the  annual  harvest □ Male  dancers □ You  need  people  to  support  it,  because  though  it's  a   headdress  it  can  be  up  to  50  feet  long □ Systems  of  education □ Few  examples  exist ® They  usually  are  burned  after  use ® Men  use  the  cover  of  night  time  to  sell  them  to   museums  while  women  and  children  won't  be  out ○ Sulka  people § Bamboo,  pith,  feather,  pigment § Performances  usually  attempt  to  overwhelm  viewer  with  color  and   pattern □ Masks  take  months  to  make,  are  in  use  for  like  20  minutes   and  are  then  destroyed  after  performances § Masks  mostly  brought  out  for  funerals  and  initiations § Kapurei □ Headdress □ Extremely  colorful □ Figures  are  almost  always  representations  of  animals □ Animals  are  clan  totems/symbols □ You  put  these  stick  things  on  top  of  the  headdress  and  when   the  two  are  combined  it's  called  a  dance  wand,  or  Rei ® Rei  are  brought  out  for  funerals ® Their  function  is  to  be  so  visually  appealing  that  during   the  funerary  procession  that  it  attracts  the  spirit  of  the   deceased  so  you  can  lead  the  spirit  out  of  town ® The  wand  part  is  what  holds  the  spirit,  and  that  is   the  two  are  combined  it's  called  a  dance  wand,  or  Rei ® Rei  are  brought  out  for  funerals ® Their  function  is  to  be  so  visually  appealing  that  during   the  funerary  procession  that  it  attracts  the  spirit  of  the   deceased  so  you  can  lead  the  spirit  out  of  town ® The  wand  part  is  what  holds  the  spirit,  and  that  is   traditionally  destroyed § Susu □ Pith,  wood,  rattan,  dried  leaves,  feathers,  natural  dyes,  pollen ® Pith:  soft  insides  of  plants □ Always  look  like  faces □ Blackened  mouth ® Indicates  initiated  male □ Stretched  earlobe ® Indication  of  initiated  male □ Women  are  not  allowed  to  see  them  being  made   □ Burned  immediately  after  use □ Spirit  of  the  tornado ® Snakes  connected  with  tornados ® Said  that  you  could  harness  the  spirit  of  the  tornado   and  unleash  it  on  other  individuals/villages/etc § Hemlaut □ Wood,  Rattan,  Natural  dyes □ Strictly  part  of  male  and  female  initiation ® Major  mark  of  initiation  of  men  is  the  blackening  of   teeth  semi-­‐permanently □ Patterns  on  masks  represent  things  and  only  initiated  males   know  how  to  decipher  them ® Patterns  communicate  what  spirit  has  taken  residence   in  the  mask/dancer □ Masks  give  a  fleeting  glance  into  the  other  realm § Southern  coast  of  New  Britain § Performances  usually  attempt  to  overwhelm  viewer  with  color  and   pattern □ Masks  take  months  to  make,  are  in  use  for  like  20  minutes   and  are  then  destroyed  after  performances New  Ireland • Funerary  carving  Malagan ○ These  are  supposed  to  be  destroyed ○ You  have  to  have  copyright  to  the  symbols  you  use  on  the  carvings § These  carvings  enhance  the  status  of  the  individual  after  death § Copyrights  are  VERY  expensive § When  you  sell  the  copyright  to  a  pattern  you  can  never  ever  make  it   again  or  ask  for  it  back ○ You  have  to  have  copyright  to  the  symbols  you  use  on  the  carvings § These  carvings  enhance  the  status  of  the  individual  after  death § Copyrights  are  VERY  expensive § When  you  sell  the  copyright  to  a  pattern  you  can  never  ever  make  it   again  or  ask  for  it  back □ When  you  buy  the  copyright  you  buy  the  knowledge  behind   all  of  the  symbols/patterns ○ Malagan  ceremonies  are  very  expensive  to  put  on § Hundreds  of  pigs  must  be  slaughtered  in  offering § Doesn't  have  to  happen  right  after  the  deceased's  death □ However  long  it  takes  to  acquire  the  resources  necessary  to   have  the  ceremony § Mask  Tatunua □ Carved  wood  and  elaborate  headdress ® Cover  the  top  part  in  cloth  and  natural  fibers  to  get  a   very  plush  look □ Earlobes ® Pierced  and  elongated:  status  and  adulthood □ Prominent  open  mouth □ Eyes:  usually  a  half  circle □ Always  asymmetrical ® Shaving  half  of  the  head  is  what  males  do  to  show  an   outward  manifestation  of  mourning □ Only  certain  men  can  perform ® Highly  respected  and  ethical ® Strongest,  mind  and  body The  performances  represent  a  communities   ◊ strength ◊ Ward  off  evil  that  outsiders  bring  into  the   community § Funerary  Figure  Kulap □ Made  of  limestone  or  chalk □ Not  available  to  everyone ® Only  the  most  prestigious  have  them  commissioned ◊ The  mountains  in  the  middle  of  the  island  are   where  you  can  find  the  limestone  to  have  one   made,  not  many  can  afford  to  do  this ® You  give  them  to  either  village  chief  or  leader  in  secret   who  goes  and  puts  it  in  a  special  place □ Container  for  the  soul  of  the  recently  deceased □ Men  can  engage  with  the  figure □ After  mourning  period  is  over,  they  are  obliterated □ Largest  collection  of  these  figures  are  in  germany ® You  give  them  to  either  village  chief  or  leader  in  secret   who  goes  and  puts  it  in  a  special  place □ Container  for  the  soul  of  the  recently  deceased □ Men  can  engage  with  the  figure □ After  mourning  period  is  over,  they  are  obliterated □ Largest  collection  of  these  figures  are  in  germany


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