Table of Contents - Volume 10, number 1 (March 2005) - 24 pages
We also introduce three other useful Nauruan techniques: (1) Nauru Opening 2 (a five-loop version of Opening A); (2) Caroline Extension with the near thumb string (for temporarily displaying a partially completed figure); and (3) creating a double-walled triangle, which Nauruans call a ‘sun’.
According to legend Tinamitto was a very pretty girl who lived on Nauru Island. Dauwaba was a young man with a number of sweethearts but, after seeing Tinamitto, he left them all and married her.
Of all the Nauruan figures in Mrs. Maude’s book, Tinamitto is perhaps the most “artificially” created, meaning that many of the string manipulations occur after releasing the partially finished figure onto a flat surface. Like several other Nauruan figures, it begins with the formation of a ‘sun’.
Once formed, a ‘tail’ is added to the sun by artificially manipulating the strings. The newly created tail is then elongated, wrapped around the lower frame string, and spliced into the figure. The resulting figure consists of a small double-walled diamond with two ‘arms’ and two ‘legs’.
Egarawinago was a legendary lady of quality. When William Henry Furness III returned from the South Sea Islands in the late 1800s he brought this figure with him, sewn on a card. He later gave it to his sister, Caroline Furness Jayne, who published an illustration of it in her book (see fig. 840). When Honor Maude visited Nauru in 1937, she learned how to make it.
Egarawinago is one of many Nauruan figures that begins with a five-loop opening, which Honor Maude called Nauru Opening 2. Because each finger has a loop, Nauruans were able to create patterns that were much more elaborate than those made from Opening A (a three-loop opening).
Like Egarawinago, Eidiowinago was a legendary figure. Her mother fell from a pandanus tree in heaven and was found by Awidoga, who married her and fathered Eidiowinago. When Eidiowinago saw the moon she cried, for the moon was her grandmother. To relieve her sorrow Awidoga made a canoe and took her to the moon, where he left her.
Like Tinamitto, this figure calls for a twisted upright loop on the upper frame string, which is threaded through a central ‘sun’ (in this case, an upper diamond rather than a hanging triangle). But the purpose of doing this is not to make a ‘tail’. Rather, the manipulation alters a central string crossing in order to add stability to the design. The figure ends with the Eongatubabo sequence which we examined in the September 2004 issue.
This splendid string figure represents two milkfish (ibiya in Nauruan, Chanos chanos in Latin) swimming apart in a lagoon (a pond) owned by Eidiowinago. On Nauru, milkfish aquaculture has a long antiquity, predating European contact. Fry were caught in the surf and transferred to brackish water ponds in the island’s interior. The ponds were part of a family’s inheritance, handed down through the female line.
Biyat Eidiowinago is nothing more than Egarawinago with an alternative ending. Like Tinamitto, the central design motif is created by arranging the strings of an intermediate figure that has been lowered onto a flat surface. The figure ends with the Eongatubabo sequence.
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