Material Culture

SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany material culture presentations spring 2012.


Richard presented a Kosraean lohrengreng, a spinner toy for a child.

Giftleen presents a ngarangar, the traditional cup in which Pohnpeian sakau is served. Prior to becoming a ngarangar the cup is known as a poun dal. Once sakau is in the ngarangar the cup is referred to as a kohwa. A ngarangar is special and is not used for anything other than sakau. A ngarangar may be handed down through a family. The ngarangar unites a family around the sakau cup both in the present and across the generations, across time. Tremendous symbolism surrounds the ngarangar.

The coconut cup that receives the sakau has a number of names that may reflect municipal or situational differences. The cup can "name shift" during the course of a ceremony. Other names include kohwaleng (kowahloang), and koupahloang (Koaupahloang) (women's cup). [Words that may relate to the cup: Katehria, kowahleng, koahnpwud also called Delen sakau (Doaloan sakau).]

Rose brought her grandmother's lisarop - Pohnpeian traditional fishing and farming hat.

C-leen with a Pohnpeian lapw kopwou. The words literally mean something akin to "untie take" as in the basket is free for anyone to untie and take with them. Traditionally the basket would contain food and is tied to the rafters of a nahs during a kamadipw. In actuality no one does untie the basket and take it, the basket is more symbolic than actual intent.

In a time now lost, the lapw kopwou may have been tied in the nahs for the giving of food to any visitors to the family. The basket, unique in its design, is still made. The traditional practice surrounding the basket may have faded away.

Rico with a Pohnpeian pwai for splitting breadfruit. If you split breadfruit with a knife, then the overly smooth cut releases latex. When the breadfruit is cooked, the latex hardens and seals the surface of the breadfruit making a hard outer layer. By using a pwai, the breadfruit cleaves along natural lines of fiber bundles and less latex is released. The bottom of this pwai is curved so that the pwai will track away from the wielder instead of towards them. The pwai is made of a hard wood.

Breadfruit spitter: pwai

Rosalina and Keylafay presented a Pohnpeian local thatch roof weaving needle, koahr. This is used not to produce the individual thatch units but to weave them onto the rafters of the roof.

Renee Iva presented a Pohnpeian ahk, used to husk coconut.

Delphina presented a Kosraean dok, a fafa pounder. Fafa is pounded soft taro. She had the dok flown in from Kosrae, she noted that it is 29 years old.

A Pingalapese pwai.

Serpina demonstrating the pwai.

Jorelik presented a modern adaptation of traditional skills, a purse (hagech in Woleaian).

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