Chapter 1: RETURN TO THE GARDEN: Gwed, locating intentions and interpretive puzzles

1995, Iwa. Gweda seedling planted next to taro, left and right of squatting man, and tapioca in foreground.

1995, Iwa. Gweda seedling planted next to taro, left and right of squatting man, and tapioca in foreground.

 

Iwa, 1995. Gweda seedling planted proximate to three stake yams. Note how clear the soil is.

Iwa, 1995. Gweda seedling planted proximate to three stake yams. Note how clear the soil is.

 

A process of planting taro, and potentially yams as well, kiumaun. Sipum explained this to me...it amounts to covering the area surrounding the seed, and stalk in a case like this of taro, with nearby rubbish to protect the soil, and plant, by preserving its moisture. These are considered excellent practices in Muyuw, and not infrequently seen. The consequence of this is that garden surfaces appear to be much more cluttered than regularly seen from Iwa and Kitava and on to the Trobriands.

A process of planting taro, and potentially yams as well, kiumaun. Sipum explained this to me…it amounts to covering the area surrounding the seed, and stalk in a case like this of taro, with nearby rubbish to protect the soil, and plant, by preserving its moisture. These are considered excellent practices in Muyuw, and not infrequently seen. The consequence of this is that garden surfaces appear to be much more cluttered than regularly seen from Iwa and Kitava and on to the Trobriands.

1996, Gwed, Rhus T. ablaze with white panicles.

1996, Gwed, Rhus T. ablaze with white panicles.

 

Kwadoy – the Woodlark cuscus (Phalanger lullulae), courtesy of Tim Flannery.

Kwadoy – the Woodlark cuscus (Phalanger lullulae), courtesy of Tim Flannery.

 

Kwadoy – the Woodlark cuscus (Phalanger lullulae), from Nasikwabw, 2002. The Nasikwabw kwadoy are said to taste much more bitter than those found on Muyuw because they eat more from Nasikwabw’s kausilay, (Calophyllum leleanii p.f. stevens) rather than gwed and other early fallow trees found amongst more serious gardening villages on Muyuw's main island.

Kwadoy – the Woodlark cuscus (Phalanger lullulae), from Nasikwabw, 2002. The Nasikwabw kwadoy are said to taste much more bitter than those found on Muyuw because they eat more from Nasikwabw’s kausilay, (Calophyllum leleanii p.f. stevens) rather than gwed and other early fallow trees found amongst more serious gardening villages on Muyuw’s main island.

 

1995, Wabunun: ‘You don’t believe? Come and see, 1. Vesop [Alocasia sp.] at base of tabnayiyuw [Dysoxylum papuanum (Merr. & Perry) Mabb.]. To its left a betel pepper plant is starting its climb up the tree.

1995, Wabunun: ‘You don’t believe? Come and see, 1. Vesop [Alocasia sp.] at base of tabnayiyuw [Dysoxylum papuanum (Merr. & Perry) Mabb.]. To its left a betel pepper plant is starting its climb up the tree.

 

1995, Wabunun: ‘You don’t believe? Come and see, 4. Vesop [Alocasia sp.] planted next standing tabnayiyuw; to the right of the tree are three dead trees that served as yam stakes. The yams’ dead vines are visible beyond the top of the picture. Few regular yam stakes are more than 2 meters high. Along with the Alocasia plants that tower over these two men the extraordinary yam vine growth gives testimony to the tree’s effects.

1995, Wabunun: ‘You don’t believe? Come and see, 4. Vesop [Alocasia sp.] planted next standing tabnayiyuw; to the right of the tree are three dead trees that served as yam stakes. The yams’ dead vines are visible beyond the top of the picture. Few regular yam stakes are more than 2 meters high. Along with the Alocasia plants that tower over these two men the extraordinary yam vine growth gives testimony to the tree’s effects.

2002 Gwed test: Above line made from sugar cane tubers are from 10 or more meters from any gwed; those below are planted next to gwed. All kuv are from individual holes.

2002 Gwed test: Above line made from sugar cane tubers are from 10 or more meters from any gwed; those below are planted next to gwed. All kuv are from individual holes.

 

1996 Iwa yam. The enormous size of this yam derives from the pruning process that begins with Iwa and extends to the Trobriands. This man did not think this teytu was particularly big. Judging by Muyuw standards, I thought it was enormous.

1996 Iwa yam. The enormous size of this yam derives from the pruning process that begins with Iwa and extends to the Trobriands. This man did not think this teytu was particularly big. Judging by Muyuw standards, I thought it was enormous.

 

1996 Iwa, garden fence in Iwa “village.”

1996 Iwa, garden fence in Iwa “village.”

 

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