Engraved BAMBOO called kārè e tā - Kanak culture, New Caledonia - Late 19th - early 20th century

19th century
Tribal Art
From: 93400, Saint-Ouen, France

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    Engraved BAMBOO called kārè e tā
    Kanak culture, New Caledonia
    Late 19th - early 20th century
    H. 94 ; Diam. 3 cm
    (old crack)

    Two knots long, this bamboo is engraved with many registers with different reading directions and is animated with figures and objects. We count in particular a rider, men on foot, a row of guns and oars.

    When the man puts his first marks on a bamboo, it is still green. The black pigmentation is obtained thanks to the soot or oil of the bancoule nut.

    Mnemonic supports, these objects which were first used as travel sticks filled with protective plants, became once engraved, a source of learning referring to the myths, traditions or even the significant events of the Kanak culture.
    The first quarter of the 20th century saw the end of the production of these engraved bamboos - a time when oral culture gave way to written transmission.

    "According to the French missionary and ethnologist Maurice Leenhardt (1937: 110), when the Kanak ventured out of their village, they carried with them an engraved bamboo which they used as a viaticum to protect themselves from the dangers of the road. Magic herbs, supposed to provide protection, were locked inside. The elders carried it as a stick and through its drawings, they recounted the deeds or misfortunes of the ancestors (Lambert,
    1900 : 67-68). For their owners, these objects were also visual memory aids, supports intended to recall an important event (Vieillard and Deplanche, 1862-1863), like scrolls for inscribing their "[...] most vivid impressions to share with others" (Leenhardt, 1937: 111)." Remarks by Roberta Colombo Dougoud, "Engraved Bamboos, Ambassador Objects of Kanak Culture," Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 136-137 | 2013, 119-132.

    Text and photos © FCP CORIDON

    Ref.LP : 3148


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