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Tapa Culture: Ancient Knowledge - Sacred Spaces

Koya, Cresantia F. (2017) Tapa Culture: Ancient Knowledge - Sacred Spaces. In: Tapa: From Tree bark to cloth. An ancient art of oceania. Somogy editions d'art, Paris , Paris , pp. 283-288. ISBN 978-2-7572-1209-7

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In Samoa and Tonga, Tapa is made from treated bark of the paper mulberry tree (Broussonetia papyrifera L. Moraceae) (Bunnell 2004). The word tapa refers to the uncolored border of completed siapo/ngatu, and its generic use for bark cloth is attributed to early mariners. The finished product siapo (Samoa) and ngatu (Tonga) remain an aspect of female cultural knowledge and wealth. Significantly, despite the evolution of tapa materials and discontinuity of functional uses of the textile; gendered spaces within which tapa exists is maintained and women are still considered the cultural knowers, producers and presenters of this important heritage art form. This paper is based on the findings of a qualitative study exploring the views of contemporary cultural communities on the cultural memory and practice of tapa in Samoa and Tonga. It begins from the premise that Tongan occupation of Samoa, believed to have lasted about 300 years and ending around 1300 A.D. (Meleisea 1987), invariably resulted in shared cultural practice and ideologies. Tapa culture is posited as a significant epistemological site of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The process of meaning-making in symbolic interactionism is examined through the lens of the motif as cultural symbol and textual narrative. Additionally, the spiritual concept of v�1 (relational space) is presented as a life philosophy reinforced through the lived experience and practice of tapa culture. The main assertion is the idea that holistic understanding of tapa requires a re-positioning of narrative that begins from an indigenous standpoint (Koya Vaka 19uta, 2013).

Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: PhD research completed in 2013 - original chapter submitted in 2014. Delay in publication resulted in the late 2017 release of this publication.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Education
Depositing User: Cresantia Koya-Vaka'uta
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2017 01:39
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2017 01:39

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