Unit Four Assignment One
Women in Oceanic Art and Culture
“I certify that I have read A Student's Guide to Academic Integrity at the University of Oklahoma, and this paper is an original paper composed by me for this course. Except where properly cited and attributed, it has not been copied or closely reworded from any other source and has not been submitted as a whole, or in part, for credit in any other course at OU or any other educational institution. It has not been created or submitted for any other purpose such as a job assignment at my workplace or any other agency.”
LSTD 3193-Art of the Nonwestern World
Professor St. Clare
December 14, 2012
Women’s roles in Oceanic cultures were very important yet less public than the roles of the males. Based on the importance of the male initiation ceremonies, one might think that the women were peripheral members of the culture. However, this was not the case at all. The women actually played very crucial roles in most Pacific cultures. Their roles were much less public than the men’s role but it was no less significant. Everyone knew that the stability of village life depended on the women. The women in this culture were also very important producers of art. The women crafted such things as barkcloth, weaving and pottery. Many of the potters in this society were women. Women would produce barkcloth which they often dyed, stenciled and perfumed. Women of the Trobriand Islands still make this today. Now however, the barkcloth is a symbol of one’s wealth. In most Oceanic cultures the women are not allowed to use tools such as wood, stone, ivory or bone. They are also not allowed to produce images that have religious or spiritual meanings. The men in the society knew that the women have the natural power to create and control life, so the males developed elaborate rituals and practices that only the males could perform. They did this so that it would counteract the female power. They did not allow the...
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