Owners of the Shade

More owners of the shade. This photo is from the excavation of a house foundation in Makeanehu ahupua’a, in Leeward Kohala. Hawaiian houses in antiquity were not large, but regularly made use of stone platforms as the foundation for a wood and thatch structure. Layers of mats would have covered the floor, creating a smooth surface for living on. Throughout the Pacific Islands, mats made from pandanus were (and still are) a part of everyday life. Mats cradle new babies, cover the beds of newly married couples, and shroud the coffins of the dead. I have two mats from Fiji that were gifts from friends; I treasure them. Malama ‘aina.

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