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'Ie sina

'Ie sina. Skirt; precious mat. This is a hand woven 'ie sina made of fau (hibiscus fibre). The 'ie sina is a grey colour with darker shades around the edges. It is rectangular in shape when laid flat. The fau has been refined by scraping, water treatments and exposure. Each fibre has been organized carefully to be woven into its mat-like state. The fibres used as tag-like attachments in order to create the shaggy-like surface. The 'ie sina has...
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Acquired: 04 Jul 1950
Auckland Museum Collections Online
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Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira
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O le 'ie sina

By Sonya | Textile design department | 11 Sep 2023

As a textile designer of Sāmoan heritage. I align with this item on many levels. From a textile design perspective located in Aotearoa, this item portrays visual elements that can be compared to the NZ classic sheepskin. These were the items compared in John William's journals when they visited Sāmoa as a missionary. But what makes this textile different to the NZ sheepskin, is that its entirety is actually made from carefully processed baste fibres from the Hibiscus tree. These baste fibres have been soaked and fermented in ocean water and clear water to achieve their white colour and soft touch. These Sāmoan textiles hold alot of knowledge that can tell us about Sāmoa's climate and environment of the time and more importantly, how makers retained knowledge of the environmental sources (such as plant fibre, water sources) to achieve the production of 'ie sina.

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