Monday, November 7, 2011

Kete Whakairo - Mawhitiwhiti 
NorthArt - Interlocked Exhibition, Auck NZ (Nov 2011)

This piece is woven in a traditional style with muka (harakeke fiber) handles that can be used to draw the sides together.

"A pattern can be created from a combination of elements when plaiting.  One element that determines the pattern is the whakapapa, this is the arrangement and sequence in which the strips are laid out at the commencement.  Another element is the use of colour, frequently seen as all the strips lying in one direction being one colour, while those lying in the opposite direction are of another colour.  Once the work has been commenced with this arrangement, patterns can be achieved by changing from check to twill strokes.  Other types of whakapapa allow for the creation of other patterns. (Pendergrast 1984)"

The mahitihiti group of patterns is known over a very wide area by variations of the name such as mawhiti, mawhitiwhiti, kowhiti, kohitihiti. Sometimes a descriptive term differentiates if the pattern is horizontal (whakatakoto) and vertical (whakatutu) arrangements. 

This pattern is formed by changing the stroke from a vertical twill to a horizontal twill, sometimes referred to as “one-two, two-one”.  (Pendergrast 1984). Pae is used in western districts to describe horizontal patterns. Kahu TeKanawa references the kowhiti whakapae pattern as relating to harvesting of food crops (TeKanawa 2009)

See the following website for an excellent example of a 18th traditional style 
British Museum Kete Whakairo

Pendergrast, Mick. Raranga Whakairo - Maori Plaiting Patterns. Auckland: Reed, 1984.

TeKanawa, Kahu Toi. “Toi Maramatanga, A Visual Maori Art Expression of Meaning.” AUT. 2009. (accessed December 7, 2010).

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