The Manner of Preparing Wauti Bark for Native Hawaiian Cloth…

For several days past we have observed many of the people bringing home from their plantations bundles of young wauti, (a variety of the morus papyrifera,) from which we infer that this is the season for cloth-making in this part of the island. This morning, the 17th, we perceived Keoua, the governor’s wife, and her female attendants, with about forty other women, under the pleasant shade of a beautiful clump of cordia or kou trees, employed in stripping off the bark from bundles of wauti sticks, for the purpose of making it into cloth. The sticks were generally from six to ten feet long, and about an inch in diameter at the thickest end. They first cut the bark, the whole length of the stick, with a sharp serrated shell, and having carefully peeled it off, rolled it into small coils, the inner bark being outside. In this state it is left some time, to make it flat and smooth. Keoua not only worked herself, but appeared to take the superintendence of the whole party. Whenever a fine piece of bark was found, it was shewn to her, and put aside to be manufactured into wairiirii, or some other particular cloth. With lively chat and cheerful song, they appeared to beguile the hours of labour until noon, when having finished their work, they repaired to their dwellings. (Ellis)

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 (These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

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