prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum


PRM0001345895179Cloak, kahu-waero / kuri purepure, of flax, dog hair, plant fibre, and feathers, from New Zealand; part of the Banks collection (1886.21.19).

Margery Blackman describes the cloak thus: 'This cloak is not large, being 96-99 cm long and 122.5-126.5 cm wide. The body of the cloak is in S-direction compact twining, with occasional parts of rows where the twist is changed to a Z-direction. Long tufts of white dog hair are formed into tassels by half-hitching with fine flax fibre yarns. Groups of these tassels are attached to the cloak but do not completely cover the twining. The taaniko border of this cloak is made on the same warps as the body. On the upper and lower part there are three rows of small triangles worked in natural flax-coloured and dark black-brown taaniko. The central field of the border is divided into seven sections. In three of these a vertical zigzag pattern is worked in two-colour, two-direction taaniko. Superficially this appears to be countered weft-twining but careful examination shows that two rows of two-colour twining are worked with an S-twist followed by two rows in a Z-twist. Two other areas of the border appear to be S-direction compact twining of alternating light and dark wefts. I was not able to examine both the faces of this border to confirm this. The two remaining panels of this border are in a horizontal and vertical linear design described by Ling Roth as a "squared meander". It is worked in a combination of two-colour taaniko for the horizontal lines and half-twist twining for the verticals. The angle of the taaniko twist is low and it is worked in an S-direction.' The kaupapa of the cloak is muka (New Zealand flax fibre) twined in compact single pair-twining. There are 7 whenu warp threads per cm and 8-9 aho weft threads per cm The cloak appears to have been finished at the top with a plaited edge. The top 30-35 mm of the cloak is folded over towards the outside and the edge held in position with a length of muka cord, which has been threaded through both layers at intervals of approximately 3 cm and tied, holding the folded-over edge in position. Strips of dog skin are attached to the folded-over top edge with the same cord. Four ties of plied muka have been added to the cloak at the neck edge. The taniko border is as described above. The description of two panels of S-direction compact twining of alternating light and dark wefts appears to be correct on examination of the back of the border. In addition, there are small motifs, of alternating light and dark squares, in these areas. The sides of the cloak have been finished with a braid of muka, held in place by aho weft fibres, but with gaps left, producing a textured edge. It appears that three successive wefts have been used to secure the braid, and then the cord left unsecured for the following three weft passes. At the same time, a plaited edge appears to have been created along the inner edge of the braid. The bundles of dog hair appear to have been made in several different ways. In some, the ends of a small bundle of hairs have been plaited with small bundles of flax fibres. The fibres have been joined with those from other small plaits to create a larger bundle, of perhaps 12-14 smaller plaits. Once the smaller plaits have been joined, a flax cord has been made, several centimetres in length, which has the smaller hair bundles at one end. This thicker cord has been coiled up, and attached to the kaupapa of the cloak with a finer muka thread. Alternatively, small bundles of hair appear to have been gathered around a short cord of muka fibre, and the whole bound with additional fibre to keep the hair in place. 18-22 of this type of small bundle have been laid side-by-side, and twined together with muka to form a flat 'ribbon', with the tufts of hair protruding from one long edge. The length of 'ribbon' has been attached to the cloak with thinner muka fibre along the opposite long edge. One of the tassels of dog hair in the centre of the cloak has a small bundle of brown feathers attached above it. It is possible that the bundles of hair were made by more than one person. (See page 14 of 'Two Early Maori Cloaks', by Margery Blackman, in New Zealand Crafts, number 13 (Autumn 1985), pp. 12-15.


  PRM0001345905179Reverse of cloak
PRM0001334705179Detail of dogskin strip
PRM0001334675179Detail of dog hair bundle
PRM0001334685179Detail of dog hair bundle
PRM0001334765179Detail of cloak edging
PRM0001334645179Detail of taniko border
PRM0001334725179Detail of taniko border
PRM0001334625179Detail of taniko border
PRM0001334745179Detail of taniko border
PRM0001334745179Detail of taniko border
PRM0001334745179Detail of taniko border
PRM0001334655179Detail of taniko border