Friday, February 26, 2010

Tukutuku Craftsmanship

Lattice panels, or tukutuku, are traditional features of any wharenui (meeting house). These intricate designs are formed (usually by the women of the tribe), by crossed stems/stalks/poles, held together by elaborate and decorative cross stitching created from strips of flax, or certain kinds of grass like orange-tinted pingao or bleached kiekie. The horizontal patterns are seen from the front and the verticals remain hidden at the rear. Modern tukuktuku, like that shown below, often incorporate a far wider range of colours - just as carvings and marae paintings often do. Multiple patterns are recurring in traditional tukutuku. The Niho taniwha for instance (teeth of the monster) uses chevron forms to allude to monster's teeth; and the Patiki (flounder) is a diamond form, which resembles the shape of the sand flounder, a common New Zealand estuary fish prized by Maori. If you'd like to see other examples of tukutuku weaving, click on the word Tukutuku in the label line below.

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