The Arts Of Old Hawaii
What are the arts that have been around for years and years on the island of Hawaii? Why were they so popular?
Early Hawaiian traditions, of course, included various types of arts and crafts. It soon became a major part of the Hawaiian culture. From the handmade canoes to the gorgeous clothes to amazing feather wear and leis, the Hawaiian arts culture is like no other on Earth.
• Early carvings. Wood on the islands was used not only as an art or craft but as a tool necessary for living. Early carvings included those of temple idols. Strong wood was taken from trees in order to carve out the faces of those the Hawaiians worshiped. Their carving skills evolved to include carving stones into mirrors and both stones and wood into fish bait and different types of artifacts.
• Use of leaves and branches. They became expert basket makers and mat weavers, and quickly became known around the world for their abilities. They used leaves from island trees to create amazing baskets that became instant hits in the world market. They also used branches and leaves to make rugs and mats on which to sleep.
• Canoes. Perhaps no art is more widely known about Hawaiians than their skills at making canoes. They used three things to carve canoes that would last for generations and hold dozens of people: a giant log, a drill and a stone adz. Early generations taught later ones about the art. Many Hawaiian became incredibly skilled at carving beautiful canoes to be used for fishing, athletics, transportation, and pure enjoyment.
• Cloth. Hawaiians in early times made cloth with the materials they knew how to use. They gathered tree bark, beat it into pulp and put it together into cloth-like strips. They then dyed the cloth into whatever shades they could gather from plants or animals. This type of cloth was known as Tapa. While it is still available today in the islands, it’s not as easy to come by as it once was.
• Feathers. Early Hawaiians made a tradition out of plucking the feathers from the islands’ most colorful birds and using them to make all kinds of clothing and decorations. Bird catching became a profession in high demand, and artists who could make long, flowing cloaks and hats became quite popular.