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Object: Korowai (cloak)

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Title Korowai (cloak)
Production Unknown (weaver), New Zealand
Medium summary Muka (flax) or tï töï (mountain cabbage tree) fibre, gold and black traditional dyes
Materials muka, natural dye
Classification korowai, cloaks
Technique weaving, braiding
Dimensions Approximate: 1020mm (Height) x 1510mm (Width) x 50mm (Depth)
Approximate: 1500mm (Width) x 1200mm (Length)
Credit line Purchased 2001
Registration number ME022703

Like all classic korowai, this cloak has a kaupapa (foundation) covered with fine, undulating rows of rolled black hukahuka cords. The korowai class of cloaks is distinctive for its surface decoration. This korowai also has randomly attached muka (NZ flax fibre) tassels, a twentieth-century fashion, mingled with the graceful traditional hukahuka.

Two rows of black and gold fibre fringing run along the bottom, and blocks of the same fibres alternate down the side edges. The fibre is coarse and may be ti toi (mountain cabbage tree), rather than muka.

Bought by the previous owner from asale in the Hawke's Bay, the korowai was purchased by the museum in 2001 at a public auction. So far this is its only known history.

The kaupapa (foundation) is muka, weft twined in whatu aho rua (double paired twining) technique. There are seven whenu (warp threads) per centimetre, with 8 mm spacing between each aho row. The kaupapa is covered in black hukahuka, some of which have attached muka tassels. Each top corner has a 50 mm corner fringe. The fringing along the bottom is joined to a row of black and gold two-ply ornamental twists. The sides have a 30 mm border of black and gold fibre, with blocks of the fibre attached on everyaho.

The aho poka are in single rows, 150 mm, 240 mm and 280 mm from the bottom edge, and six rows 320 mm from the top edge. The final finish at the top is a single whenu spiral with another row of decorative spirals in natural muka woven into the final aho row before trimming.

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Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.