prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum


PRM0001345765179Cloak, of flax, from New Zealand; part of the Forster collection (Forster 105; 1886.1.1136)

Cloak made from New Zealand flax fibre (muka). The muka does not appear to have been twisted (miro), and the warp consists of bundles of fibre. The fibre is undyed, apart from three pairs of warp fibre bundles that have been dyed a dark brown colour. Two of these pairs stretch the whole width of the cloak, while one pair ends approximately 38 mm from one edge. A plaited border dyed the same dark brown colour has been used on two edges of the cloak, and this has been joined to the aho weft during construction. At one corner of the cloak the plaited cord extends into what appears to be a tie, although this is at what Ling Roth considered to be the bottom of the cloak (see page 57 of The Maori Mantle, by H. Ling Roth (Halifax: Bankfield Museum (1923)). The cloak has a 'thrum commencement' (explained on page 88 of 'Whatu: The Enclosing Threads', by Margery Blackman (in Whatu Kākahu / Māori Cloaks, edited by Awhina Tamarapa (Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2011), pp. 75-93) as 'where short ends of the whenu are simply left as a fringe beyond the first row of whatu'. The whenu warps measure 7 per cm, with a spacing in between each aho weft row of between 6 and 10 mm. The weft twining is not regular. Much is spaced two-pair weft-twining (whatu aho rua), but there are two rows of single-pair weft-twining (whatu aho patahi). A total of 21 short weft rows (aho poka) are inserted into the body of the cloak to shape it. The finish on the cloak is similar to the commencement, in that a short fringe of whenu warp threads is left after the last whatu (twined) weft row.


  PRM0001345775179Back of cloak
PRM0001322905179Cloak showing shaping rows
PRM0001322845179Detail of edging
PRM0001322875179Detail of dyed wefts
PRM0001322885179Detail of weft-twining techniques
PRM0001322835179Forster and Ashmolean labels