Ko’a

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Ko’a is the name of a ’ceremonial domain’ on Palu’e, one of the seven domains that adhere to agricultural cycles beginning and ending with the sacrifice of water buffalo. Dr. Michael Vischer in the first significant text on Palu’e textiles (in Hamilton 1994), a fine anthropological account of the relationship between Palu’e ideas connected with textiles to the system of Palu’e socio-cosmic thought, mentions that interlocutors related the word koa (lit. ’boil’), which relates to the fermentation of the indigo vat, to Ko’a. While this could be a reflection of the ideology of ‘precedence’, because this exists in every domain, which Vischer notes, a more obvious connection would be ko’a ‘to warp’, to set up the ikated warp yarns before dyeing, and the final setup of all the warp yarns before weaving. The pronunciation is the same, the apostrophe marks the consonant glottal stop, which is frequent in sara Lu’a. Ko’a is indeed one of the most traditional domains today, or the one where the inhabitants all learn how to togo ‘chant-dance’ and more. In one of their origin stories the people spread from Ko’a to the rest of the island. Anyhow, linguistically, the meaning of ko’a does not speak against this belief, perhaps the name of the domain is taken from the word, and weaving is ingrained in the culture. Newly born girls are presented with weaving tools at the name giving ceremony bundo ngara, and woven textiles are the prime good given by wife-givers in response to the…

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Nangge Liru, a myth about the origin of weaving

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Available as WAV-file with annotations, item SD1-037, at https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/38940Preliminary translation, still close to the transcription style. Story told by Lengu Nande. Notes: Areca fruit and piper betle, known together as sirih pinang in Indonesian, wua mutu in sara Lu'a, is a cultural pastime with ceremonial significance. Liru means 'the sky' or 'the heavens'. Raw rice grains, unhusked rice, siwe, is a ritual agent offered primarily to the deceased, the ancestors.That woman.. her parents lived up in the heavens. She had married a man from a village down by the edge of the world, so she lived in that village. There was no warping, and nobody to teach how to warp and weave. Then one moonlit night she talked to her husband. When the sun was about to rise, she stayed with their child, while her man, because the low tide was peaking, went searching for sea snails. He went searching for sea snails, while she and the child stayed at home. She cooked for the child, a small pot of rice. She cooked for her child, because she wanted to go up, up to her parents. When the rice was done, she told her child, “Hey, when your father comes tell him that if he is truly wealthy, go get me above Dheko pere réta wa Nangge Liru.”With a chicken and a coconut bowl of raw rice she went to the areca tree near the house. She asked the tree, “Areca, are you short, short until beneath the soil, or…

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From Language to Ikat

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Stefan (Cawa) and Ratu, were exploring the semantic domain of weaving with senior weavers and learned names of sarong (dhama) types that they hitherto did not know of: Bhejo, Loka, Sa loi, Hura..  The three first mentioned cloths still existed on the island, but in other domains (or villages) and in their styles; the main pattern of this Loka was different. Where we lived, in the Kéli and Ndéo domains, Bhejo and Loka were not in use any more. We were very lucky to find two old, over a century, cloths stored away in the village Ndeo. Although in poor condition, such old cloths are extremely rare on Palu’e these days. Before this we had never seen a Palu’e cloth in natural dyes. It is said that people, ata turis, or collectors came during the 90s and bought naturally dyed cloths. Another reason why old cloths are gone is of course that they become worn out until they are in such a poor condition that the owner disposes of them. Most people have not understood the value of a ragged cloth, for heritage, to copy, even to sell to a cloth enthusiast. The fate of the discovered cloths were a little bit better. We had two copies made of the Loka and one of the Bhejo. Later I heard that the Loka had been forgotten outside in the rains, and fell into the mud. Half of the piece was saved (imaged). As for the Bhejo, it was borrowed by someone,…

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