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James Morrison's Account of TahitiIndigenous Histories
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Manufactures & Trafic


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Manufactures & Trafic (continued)

and the Sun heightens the Collour; twice dipping and 6 or 8 days Sun is sufficient to produce the highest shade, which never fades till the Cloth is worn out. The Black is produced from the Sap of the Mountain Plantain or Payee — or by soaking the Cloth under the root of some particular Cocoa nut trees which Grow in Swampy Ground where in a Nights time, or three or four seperate dippings, it becomes Jett black. The Brown is Call’d Heere or Poowhirri and after it has been Worn some time makes a Good Black, being then better then Clean White for receiving the Collour. The Black they Call Oowerre.

The Yellow they extract from Turmeric & the roots of the Nonno — and with the latter, being a pale light collour they dye the lining of their Brown Cloth which they past in very Curiously and paint the border with red which gives it a very showy appearance this is now Calld Hapaa — they also take of Red, Black, Yellow & White apiece of equal dimentions, and paste them together Cutting them in Curious Forms so as to shew all the Collours — another Method is taking old brown Cloth, which they tear in pieces and Mix with some New bark, beating the Whole into one piece and when finishd it is spotted all over. This they dip in the Yellow dye and line it in the Same Manner, Infusing Sweet Scents in their dye. This is Calld Opottapotta.

The Ora is a Grey strong Cloth made of the Bark of the Sloe tree — Large quantitys of these trees grow in the Mountains, particularly Near Vyeooredee, where there is a great lake which they Call Vye Heereea from a large kind of Eels which they say it produces as big round as a Man; to the Banks of this lake resort Numbers of the Areeuoy (Who are Generally good Cloth Makers tho it is Chiefly the Weomens employment) to make the Cloth, it being held in great esteem being the Strongest & Best for wear. They Generally stay some months on the Banks of this lake where they have plenty of Provisions — some few Inhabitants live Constantly there and are mostly employd making Cloth — the lake emptys itself into the Vally of Vyeooredee and they say that they have never yet found bottom, to it they Waft themselves from side — to side on rafts made of the trunk of the Mountain Plantain. They Make Cloth of several different trees but these are the most common. It is Chiefly the Work of the Weomen tho the Arreuoys 21are very excellent hands in evry branch of the work but expecially at Dyeing & Painting — the only tools requisite for making the Cloth after the Plants are Strip’d, are a Shell to Scrape

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© Derived from the 1935 Print Edition edited by Owen Rutter, page 162, 2004
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