Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Barkcloths demonstrate women’s importance

07.07.2005


Dutch researcher Anna-Karina Hermkens has produced a description and analysis of the dynamics of gender and identity in the culture of the Maisin, an indigenous group from Papua New Guinea. She made this analysis by following the production and use of an object made by the women, painted barkcloth.


Maisin women and men perform their dances to mark a church festival. The dances and body decorations express not only religious identity, but also gender, clan and tribal identity.


Maisin women painting barkcloths. The red paint is applied warm and used to be associated with blood and taboo for men and children. Nowadays the painting of the barkcloths is no longer surrounded by taboos and has become a social occasion.



In her thesis Anna-Karina Hermkens provides insights into the life and culture of the Maisin from a previously undescribed female perspective. This reveals the importance of women and female objects in ceremonial exchange systems, which within traditional anthropology are always associated with and studied from a male perspective. However women and their goods were found to play a crucial role in both formal and informal exchanges.

The production and use of barkcloths was found to be related to ideas about gender and sexuality. The commercialisation of these cloths also has consequences for local relationships between men and women and for the position of women in general.


Maisin is a language group of about 3000 speakers, of which some 2000 live along the coast of Collingwood Bay in Papua New Guinea. The 36 clans live over 10 villages and mostly make their living from fishing and horticulture. Intensive and extensive exchange networks exist between the clans and also with neighbouring groups. The ceremonial and economic exchange of barkcloths plays a major role in this.

Barkcloths

The cloths, which are made from the bark of paper mulberry trees and have black patterns filled in with red, are intertwined with the past present and future of the Maisin. They are the most important medium for the Maisin to make themselves seen and heard, and to obtain money for schooling, medicines, clothes and other ’essential’ goods.

Hermkens carried out 12 months of anthropological fieldwork under the Maisin in 2001-2002. Before and after this fieldwork period the anthropologist carried out extensive research at museums in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Australia and Papua New Guinea. By cataloguing and studying archives and museum collections related to the Maisin of Collingwood Bay, she gained a better understanding of the traditions associated with and changes in barkcloths. This also enabled her to place the present production and consumption of barkcloths in an historical colonial and postcolonial context.

Anna-Karina Hermkens’ research was funded by NWO.

Dr Anna-Karina Hermkens | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.maw.ru.nl

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht The transparent soccer player
05.06.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel method for investigating pore geometry in rocks

18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Diamond watch components

18.06.2018 | Process Engineering

New type of photosynthesis discovered

18.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>