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Masi: House and cloth of the vanua

Hulkenberg, Jara (2015) Masi: House and cloth of the vanua. Journal o f Material Culture, NA . pp. 1-8. ISSN 1359-1835

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Based on a combination of literary research and fieldwork this article examines the material and immaterial qualities of Fijian barkcloth, known as masi, to explain the reasons for its continued use in Fijian society from pre-Christian times to the present. It is argued masi embodies all the aspects of the vanua and is therefore referred to as ‘cloth of the vanua’. As cloth of the vanua, masi is a mediating agent between the sacred and profane, and has an important strengthening and protective function when used during life cycle rituals as a wrap. To explain the manners in which masi is used, masi is interpreted as a house for and point of access to the powers of the ancestor gods. An analysis of the overall design structure of a type of masi called gatu taunamu ni viti (Fijian mosquito net) illustrates that the association with a house is metonymic instead of metaphorical.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Published online before print November 15, 2015 DOI: 10.1177/1359183515610136
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies
Depositing User: Fulori Nainoca - Waqairagata
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2016 01:31
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 03:30

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