Cape

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Registration number
20623
Item name
Cape 
Category
Comfort
Bodywear
Cloth/Textile
 
Indigenous name
lemo/karugar 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > New Ireland Province > Namatanai District > Dinikindu village
Map
Collector
Dr Elizabeth Brouwer 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1976 
Acquisition method
Commissioned by Dr Elizabeth Brouwer 
Raw material
Pandanus
Dimensions
H: W: 860 mm L: 1030 mm D: Circum:

Description

Research notes

Stitched mats are made in many parts of Melanesia and are used as raincapes, floor and sleeping mats, wrapping the dead and as covers for newborn children. In New Ireland (Papua New Guinea), the stitched mat is known by the term araazira by the Nalik speaking people. It is made from the large pointed leaves of the amotmot, a type of pandanus tree that grow in the swamps in the forested interior of the island. The araazira is made by women who gift the mats to female relatives as a form of exchange. It is used to cover firstborn children as it is considered a protective barrier from sorcery and malevolent spirits. During special ceremonies called vazufnalik, clans gather in a village hamlet to celebrate the entry of a firstborn child into community life. The mother of the child brings the child - covered in the araazira – into a public space, and then removes the mat publicly, signifying entry into community life. This practice continues today although with the introduction of readymade mats and with the influence of Christianity, their production is dying out.

This Collection Close Up was written by Dr Graeme Were, Senior Lecturer, School of English, Media Studies and Art History.

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