Chapter 2: THE TREES—Basic Categories and Landscape Beacons
“…the special distinguishing characteristic of Malinowski’s field technique lies … secondly in the theoretical assumption that the total field of data under the observation of the field-worker must somehow fit together and make sense” (E.R. Leach 1957: 120).
“It is important to describe folk taxonomy, but it is equally important to document how folk taxa are used in everyday thought and interaction with the world”(Coley, Medin, Proffitt, Lynch & Atran, 1999:228)
One evening in 1974 and that teili tree.
1） Wabunun shoreline from 2002, taken from Waviay. Dimly, village houses are to the left. Just to their right is a clump of high Yay trees (Casuarina littorale), a kind which once lined many shoreline locations. Far to the right are several trees rising above all others. One of those is the teili tree (Terminalia catappa).
The Teili (Terminalia catappa) tree at breast height, part of the unumug constituting the founding moment and place of Wabunun village.
View of the upper portion of spreading Teili tree, part of the unumug…
Questions of method and limits
THE TREES: THE PROBLEM(S) OF CLASSIFICATION AND CATEGORIZATION
The nature of Muyuw/NE Kula Ring Classification
Classing Life Forms
The shoreline pandanus tree called loud. Its aerial routes are the source of the finely textured “string” called im which may be used for the string in a veigun, the Kula Necklace, as the thread for sewing together other pandanus leaves for sleeping mats or sails, fishing nets in north central Muyuw and as the preferred string for “string figures.” The string can be very small yet when three pieces are woven together they are relatively strong and exude a friction that makes them easy to manipulate. The name loud is also applied to traditional belts and groin-covering apparel worn by men. When properly cured (by fire), the large leaves from this plant turn into a soft, pliable, almost leathery quality. To the right: Aerial root growing down from the trunk of a loud pandanus tree.
GROUPS OF RELATED PLANTS
From 2009, Akisi, one of four in a group (bod) of which three are strangler figs (MORACEAE Ficus.sp.). Sometimes this one spreads all around rather than in this tight weave. Leaves from this tree are used in love magic with the idea that its properties, binding until death, may be conveyed to a couple …so that they stay together until death.
Kweita tayp’ and names
The weylau female tree (STERECULIACEASE Abroma augusta).
The weylau male flower(MALVACEAE Hibiscus).
From 2009: A kind of landscape beacon, this is one of three proscription-signaling plants called kaypwadau, this one (ORCHIDACEAE Spathoglottis) frequently found in disturbed areas typical of digadag, early fallow garden areas, and the paths that regularly go to them. This is the same environment where Namonsigeg are found. Surrounding the plant here is another called Aydigadag (POLYPODIACEAE Microsorium cf cromwellii). The kaypwadau in this picture is some 20cm high.
Namonsigeg, PASSIFLOREACEAE Passiflora sp. A commonly found early fallow vine whose wickedly suggestive name some believe to be a subtle hope, and vehicle for everlasting marital bliss.
Toward the Synthetic Use of Arboreal Categories
Figure 2.1 Tree Parts and Terms. Fundamental terms for trees and their parts, a logical beginning to a recursive ordering.
Map 2.1 Fractal Presentation of Base/Tip Contrasts. The ideal image of tree overlays the whole island so that the eastern end is the “tree’s” “base,” the western end is it “tip.” That imagery works for each village in the same way, in Eastern and Central Muyuw. The ideal two-rowed village is reproduced, also in Eastern and Central Muyuw, by means of an image of a taro plant by figuring a southern and norther line of villages. The southern line is the stalk, equivalent of “base” here; the northern line the “leaf,” yamwik, the word for large, broad leaves.