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James Morrison's Account of TahitiIndigenous Histories
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Manufactures & Trafic


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Manufactures & Trafic

It is on all hands allowed that Necessty is the Mother of Invention and tho the Divine bounty has rendered Art almost useless for procuring the Necessarys of life in this Country yet the Ingenuity of these people is highly Conspicuous in evry article of their Manufacture, of which their Cloth Matting and oil are particular Articles of their Trafic, if it may be so Calld, but this is Generally carried on by making presents rather then by Exchange of Commoditys.

Their Cloth, of which the General Name is Ahhoo, is of Different sorts and and made from the Bark of different trees but the process of all is the Same.

The Best and finest white Cloth Calld Hoboo or Parrawye is made from the Yowte or Cloth Plant and is made thus — The plants having to their proper length (10 or 12 feet) are cut by the Men and brought in by them which is their part of the work, the Weomen then Strip off the bark by entring a pointed Stick between the bark and the Plant and ripping it the whole length on one Side, & the Bark peels off. After they have Stripd all the Plants they take the Bark to the Water where they wash it, [and] spreading it on a board for the Purpose Scrape it Clean, taking off the Outside rind with a large Cockle shell and having freed it from the Sap and Slime it is wrapd in plantain leaves and covered with Grass, where it remains for two three or four days when it becomes Clammy and glutinous, & is then fit for working, it is then spread of a regular thickness of several strips forming a band of 7 or 8 inches broad and of what length the piece is intended to be and the Ground where they intend to work is spread with plantain leaves to keep it from the dirt — the Beans are then placed at equal distances about 6 feet asunder & at each of them two weomen work, having the Piece between them, beating it with square beetles to its proper breadth; this they perform by a Song given by one & Chorous’d by the rest and keep regular time and Shifting the Piece backwards and forwards till it is all beat out to a regular

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© Derived from the 1935 Print Edition edited by Owen Rutter, page 160, 2004
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