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    In the book ‘Argonauts of the western pacific’, Dr. Malinowski has done his work, as it appears to us. Under the best conditions and in the manner calculated to secure the best possible results. Both by theoretical training and by practical experience he was well equipped for the task which he undertook. Of his theoretical training he had given proof in his learned and thoughtful treatise on the family among the aborigines of Australia of his practical experience he had produced no less satisfactory evidence in his account of the natives of Mailu in New Guinea, base on a residence of six months among them. In the Trobriand Island, to the east of New Guinea, to which he next turned his attention, Dr. Malinowski lived as a native among the natives for many months together, watching them daily at work and at play, conversing with them in their own tongue, and deriving all his information from the surest sources personal observation and statements made to him directly by the native in their own language without the intervention of an interpreter. In this way he has accumulated a large mass of materials, of high scientific value, bearing on the social, religious, and economic or industrial life of the Trobriand Islanders. He discuss about the whole life style of the people of Tobriand’s. Dr. Malinowski found a different trading system in Trobriand Island. It’s called Kula. In Kula system they used a boat called canoes. Here I discuss about the Kula and canoes.


    The meaning of Kula:  We have been following the various routes and ramifications of the Kula, entering minutely and meticulously into its rules and customs its beliefs and practices, and the mythological tradition spun round it, till, arriving at the end of our information, we have made its two ends meet. We shall now put aside the magnifying glass of detailed examination and look from a distance at the subject of our inquiry, take in the whole institution with one glance, let it assume a definite shape before us. This shape will perhaps strike us as being something not met before in ethnological studies. It will be well to make an attempt at finding its place among the other subjects of systematic ethnology, at gauging its significance, at assessing how much we have learned by becoming acquainted with it.

    After all there is no value in isolated facts for science, however striking and novel they might seem in themselves. Genuine science research differs from mere curio hunting in that the latter runs after the quaint, singular and freakish the craving for the sensational and the mania of collecting providing its twofold stimulus. Science on the other hand has to analyses and classifies facts in order to place them in an organic whole, to incorporate them in one of the systems in which it tries to group the various aspects of reality.
    I shall not of course enter upon any speculations or add any hypothetical assumptions to the empirical data contained in the foregoing chapters. I shall confine myself to some reflections on the most general aspect of the institution, and try to express somewhat more clearly. What to me appears the mental attitude at the bottom of the various Kula customs? These general points of view ought, I think, to be considered and tested in further field work done on subjects akin to the Kula as well as in theoretical research, and might thus prove fertile for future scientific work.

(a)Racial divisions in Eastern New Guinea:
    The tribes who live within the sphere of the Kula system of trading belong, one and all with the exception perhaps of the Rossel Island natives, of whom we know next to nothing to the same racial group. These tribes inhabit the eastern most end of the mainland of New Guinea and those islands. New Guinea is a mountainous island continent, very difficult of access in its interior, and also at certain portions of the coast, where barrier reefs, swamps and rocks practically prevent landing or even approach for native craft. Such a country would obviously not offer the

same opportunities in all its parts to the drifting migrations which in all probability are responsible for the composition of the present population of the South Seas. The actual distribution of races in New Guinea completely justifies these hypotheses. In Map 1 shows the Eastern part of the main island and archipelagoes of New Guinea and the racial distribution of the natives. The interior of the continent, the low sago swamps and deltas of the Gulf of Papua probably the greater part of the North coast and of the  south west coast of new guinea, are inhabited by a relatively  tall, dark skinned, frizzly haired race, called by Dr. Seligman Papuan, and in the hills more especially by pygmy tribes. We know little about these people, swamp tribes and hill tribes alike, who probably are the autochthons in this part of the world.

(b) Sub-divisions of Kula district:

    The adjacent Map 2 shows the Kula district, that is the eastern most ends of the main island and the archipelagoes lying to its East and North East. As Professor C.G. Seligman says: ‘This area can be divided into two parts, a small northern portion comprising the Trobriands, the Marshall bonnets, the woodlarks, as well as a number of smaller islands such as the Laughlans, and a far larger southern portion comprising the remainder of the Massim domain. More over the Kula being an international affair, the natives of one tribe know more about Kula customs abroad than they would about any other subject. And in all its essentials, the customs and tribal rules of the exchange are identical throughout the whole Kula area.

(c) Scenery at the Eastern end of New Guinea:

    The East End of New Guinea is a tropical region, where the distinction between the dry and wet season is not felt very sharply. In fact, there is no pronounced dry season there, and so the land is always clad in intense, shining green, which and so the land is always clad in intense, shining green, which forms a crude contrast with the blue sea. The summits of the hills are often shrouded in trailing mist, whilst white

clouds brood or race over the sea. Breaking up the monotony of saturated, stiff blue and green. To someone not acquainted with the south seas landscape it is difficult to convey the permanent impression of smiling festiveness, the alluring clearness of the beach, fringed by jungle trees and palms, skirted by white foam and blue sea, above it the slopes ascending in rich, stiff folds of dark and light green, piebald and shaded over towards the summit by steamy, tropical mists.


(a) A concise definition of the Kula:
Having thus described the scene, and the actors, let us now proceed to the performance. The Kula is a form of exchange, of extensive, inters tribal character; it is carried on by communities inhabiting a wide ring of islands, which form a closed circuit. This circuit can be seen on Map-3, where it is represented by the lines joining a number of islands to the North and Eastern of the East end of New Guinea. On every island and in every village, a more or less limited number of men take part in the Kula that is to say, receive the goods, hold them for a short time, and them pass them on. Therefore every man who is in the Kula, periodically though not regularly, receives one or several, or a so lava and then has to hand it on to one of his partners, from whom he receives the opposite commodity in exchange.

(b) Its economic character:

    In giving the above abstract and concise definition, I had to reverse the order of research, as this is done in ethnographic field work, where the most generalized inferences are obtained as the result of long inquiries and laborious inductions. Thus the introduction I called the Kula is a trading system and I ranged it alongside other systems of barter. This is quite correct, if we give the word ‘trade’ a sufficiently wide interpretation, and mean by it any exchange of goods. But the word ‘trade’ is used in current Ethnography and economic literature with so many different implications that a whole lot of misleading, preconceived ideas have to be brushed aside in order to grasp the facts correctly. Thus the a priori current notion of primitive trade would be that of an exchange of indispensable or useful articles, done without much ceremony or regulation, under stress of dearth or need, in spasmodic, irregular intervals and this done either by direct barter.  

(c) The main rules and aspects of Kula:

    The exchange of these two classes of vaygu’a of the arm shells and the necklaces constitutes the main act of the Kula. This exchange is not done freely, right and left, as opportunity offers, and where the whim leads. Two Kula partners have to Kula with one another, and exchange other gifts incidentally; they behave as friends, and have a number of mutual duties and obligations, which vary with the distance between their villages and with their reciprocal starts.  Applying this rule of personal conduct to the whole Kula ring, we can see at once what the aggregate result is. The sum total of exchanges will not result in an aimless shifting of the two classes of article, in a fortuitous come and go of the arm-shells and necklaces. Two continuous streams will constantly flow on the one of necklaces following the hands of a clock, and the other composed of the arm-shall in the opposite direction.


(a) Sociology of the Kula:

    The Trobriand people enter into this relation ship in a definite manner, and remain in it for the rest of their life. The number of partners a man possesses depends upon his social position and tank. The protective character of an overseas partner becomes now clearer, after we have realized the nervous tension with which each Kula party in olden days would have approached a land full of mulukwausi, bow’s and other forms of sorcery, a land from which originate the very tuna’s and other forms of sorcery, a land from which originate the very tuna’s themselves. Not every one who lives within the cultural sphere of the Kula does participate in it. More especially in the Trobriand Islands, there are whole districts which do not practice the Kula. Thus a series of villages in the North of the main island, the villages on the island of Tama, as well as the industrial villages of kabana and the agricultural ones of Telltale do not practice Kula. The name for an overseas partner is in the Trobriand language karate’s ‘my partner’ in style hullo karate’s hullo being the possessive pronoun of remote relation.  

(b) Relation of partnership:

    The natives of the Amphletts are exclusive manufacturers are exclusive manufacturers of pottery, within a wide radius. They are the only purveyors to the Trobrianders, to the inhabitants of the Marshall Bennett islands, and also I believe, all the clay pots in woodlark come from the Amphletts. The best Amplest pots owe their high quality to the excellence of their material as well as their workmanship. The clay for them has to be imported into the islands from yayawana, a quality on the Northern Shore of Fergusson Island, about a day’s journey from the Amphletts. Only very inferior clay can be found in the islands of Gumasila and Babwqgeta, good enough to make small pots, but quite useless for the big ones. With regard to the technology of pot making, the method is that of first roughly mounding the clay into its form and then beating with a spatula and subsequently scraping the walls to the required thinness with a mussel-shall. To give the description in detail, a woman starts first by kneading a certain amount of clay for a long time.


(a) Myths and reality:

    Here I must try to reconstruct the influence of myth upon this vast landscape, as it colors it gives it meaning and transforms it into something live and familiar. What was a mere rock now becomes a personality; what was a speck on the horizon becomes a beacon, hallowed by romantic associations with heroes; a meaningless configuration of landscape acquires a significance, obscure no doubt, but full of intense emotion. Sailing with natives, especially with novices to the Kula. The oldest Myths, referring to the origin of human beings; to the sociology of the sub clans and villages; to the establishment of permanent relations between this world and the next. These myths describe events which took place just at the moment when the earth began to be peopled from underneath. Humanity existed, somewhere underground, since people emerged from there on the surface of Boyowa, in full decoration, equipped with magic, belonging to social divisions, and obeying definite laws and customs. But beyond this we know nothing about what they did underground. There is however a series of myths, of which one is attached to every one of the more important sub clans, about various ancestors coming out of the ground, and almost at once, doing some important deed, which gives a definite character to the sub clan.
    Here belong stories about ogres and their conquerors; about human beings who established definite customs and cultural features; about the origin of certain institutions. These myths are different from the foregoing ones, in so far as they refer to a time when humanity was already established on the surface of the earth, and when humanity was already established on the surface of the earth, and when all the social divisions had already assumed a definite character. The main cycle of myths which belong there, are those of a culture hero, tudava, who slays an ogre and thus allows people to live in boyowa again; whence they all had fled in fear of being eaten a story about the origins of cannibalism belongs here also and about the origin of garden making.
    A point which might appear contradictory in superficial reading is that before, we stressed the fact that the natives had no idea of change, yet here we spoke of myths about ‘origins’ of institution. It is important to realize that, though natives of speak about times when humanity was not upon the earth, of times when there were no gardens, etc, yet all these things arrive ready made; they do not change or evolve. The first people, who came from underground, came up adorned with the same trinkets, carrying their lime pot and chewing their betel nut.

(b) The myths of the Kula:

      The myths of the Kula are scattered along a section of the present Kula circuit. Beginning with a place in Eastern Woodlark Island, the village of samara, the mythological centers are spread round almost in a semi circle, right down to the island of tewara, where we have left for the present out party from sinaketa.
    In samara there lived an individual called gore’s, who according to one myth was the originator of the Kula. In the island of degumenu, west of woodlark island tokosikuna another hero of the Kula, had his early home, though he finished his career in Gumasila, in the amphletts. Kitava, the westernmost of the Marshall Bennett, is the center of canoe magic associated with the Kula. It is also the home of monoclinic, whose name gigues in many formula of the Kula magic, though there is no explicit myth about him, except that he was the first man to practice an important system of Kula magic, probably the most widespread system of the present day. 
    Dr. Malinowski obtained two versions about the mythological hero, Tolosikuna of Document. In the first of them he is represented as a complete cripple, without hands and feet. Who has to be carried by his two daughters into the canoe? They sail on a Kula expedition through Iowa, Gaga, through the Straits of Giribwa to gymnasia. Then they put him on a platform, where he takes a meal and goes to sleep. They leave him there and go into a garden which they see on a hill above, in order to gather some food.
    They sail and passing the sandbank of gabula this is the Trobriand name for gabuwana, as the amphlettans pronounce it tokosikuna eases his helm; then, as he tries to bring the canoe up to the wind again, his lashings snap, and the canoe sinks. He swims in the waves, carrying the basketful of valuables in one arm. He calls outdo the other canoes: ‘come and take your baby! I shall get into your wage!’ ‘You married all our women,’ they answer, ‘now sharks will eat you!. We shall go to make Kula in Dobu!’ tokosikuna, however, swims safely to the point called Kamsareta, in the island of Dumdum.


(a) Reception in Dobu:

    The institution of glare and of the threatening reception accorded to the visiting party, at the time when it is laid upon the village, and when it has to be lifted. When there is no glare, and the arriving fleet is on an unalike expedition, there will be a big and ceremonial welcome. The canoes, as they approach, will range themselves in along row facing the shore. The point selected will be the beach, corresponding to a hamlet where the main partner of the toil uvalaku lives. The canoe of the toli uvalaku, of the master of the unawake expedition well range itself at the and of the row. Some times, when a vaygu’a is carried to the canoes by a woman it will be put into a basket and carried on her head. 

(b) The main transactions of the Kula:

    We have at last arrived at the point when the real Kula has begun. So far, it was all preparations, and sailing with its concomitant adventure, and a little bit of preliminary Kula in the Amphlitts. It was all full of excitement and emotion pointing always towards the final goal, the big Kula in Dobu. Now we have at last reached the climax. The net result will be the acquisition of a few dirty, greasy, and insignificant looking native trinkets, each of them a string of flat, partly discolored, partly raspberry pink or brick red discs, threaded one behind the other into a long, cylindrical roll. It seems fit here to make these few reflections upon the native psychology on this point and to attempt to grasp its real significance.
    It may help us towards this understanding to reflect, that not far from the scenes of the Kula, large numbers of white adventurers have toiled and suffered, and many of them given their lives, in order to acquire what to the natives would appear as insignificant and filthy as their bagi are to us a few nuggets of gold.  
(c) The Kula proceedings in Dobu:

    Returning now to the concrete proceedings of the Kula, let us follow the movements of a Sinakitan toliwaga. He has presumably received a necklace or two on his arrival; but he has more partners and he expects more valuables. Before he receives his fill, he has to keep a taboo. He may not partake of nay local food, neither yams, nor coco huts nor betel pepper or nut. According to their belief, if he transgressed this taboo he would not receive any more valuables. He tries also to soften the heart if his partner by feigning disease. He will remain in his canoe and send word that he is ill. The Dobu man will know what such a conventional disease means.
    We may say that the visitor enters into a threefold relation with the Dobuan natives. First, there is his partner, with whom he exchanges general gifts on the bases of free give and take, a type of transaction, running side by side with the Kula proper. Then there is the local resident, not his personal Kula partner, eighth whom he carries on gimwali.

    A canoe is an item of material culture, and as such it can be described, photographed and even bodily transported into a museum. But and this is a truth too often overlooked the ethnographic reality of the canoe would not be brought much nearer to a student at home even by placing a perfect specimen right before him. The canoes are made for a certain use, and with a definite purpose.

Analysis of its construction and function:
    This asymmetrical stability plays a great part in the technique of sailing. Thus, as we shall see, the canoe is always so sailed that its outrigger float remains in the wind side. The pressure of the sail then lifts the canoe, so that pressed into the water; a position in which they are extremely stable and can stand great force of wind. Whereas the slightest breeze would cause the canoe to turn turtle, if it fell on the other side, and thus pressed into the water.
    Another look at fig. 1, 2 and 3 will help us to realize that the stability of the canoe will depend upon (i) the volume, and especially the depth of the dugout; the distance (ii) between the dug out and the log; the size (iii) of the log. The greater all these there magnitudes are magnitudes are, the greater the stability of the canoes. A shallow canoe, without much freeboard, will be easily forced into the water; moreover, if sailed in rough weather, waves will break over it, and fill it with water.
(i) The volume of the dug out log naturally depends upon the length, and thickness of the log. Fairly stable canoes are made of simply scooped out logs. There are limits, however, to the capacity of these, which are very soon reached. But by building out the side, by adding one or several planks to them, as shown in figure I (4) the volume and the depth can be greatly increased without mush increase in weight. So that such a canoe has a good deal of freeboard to prevent water from breaking in. the longitudinal boards in Kiriwinian canoes are closed in at each end by transversal prow boards, which are also carved with more or less perfection.

Diagrammatic sections of the three types of Trobriand canoe
(i) Kewo’u             (ii) Kalipoulo                (iii) Masawa

(ii) The greater the distance between dugout and outrigger float, the canoes. Since the momentum of rotation is the product of fig-1 and the weight of the log c, it is clear, therefore, that the greater the distance, the greater will be the momentum. Too great a distance, however, would interfere with the wilderness of the canoe. Any force acting on the log would easily tip the canoe, and as the natives, in order to manage the craft, have to walk upon the outrigger, the distance B-C must not be too great. In the Trobriands the distance B-C is about one quarter or less, of the total length of the canoe. In the big, sea going canoes, it is always covered with a platform. In certain other districts, the distance is much bigger, and the canoes have another type of rigging.

    (iii) The size of the log (c) of which the float is formed. This, in sea going canoes, is usually of considerable dimensions. But, as a solid piece of wood becomes heavy if soaked by water, too thick a log would not be good.
    These are all the essentials of construction in their functional aspect, which will make clear further descriptions of sailing, of building, and of using. For, indeed, though I have said that technicalities are of secondary importance, still without grasping them, we cannot understand references to the managing and rigging of the canoes. The Trobriandders use their craft for three main purposes, and these correspond to the three types of canoes. Coastal transport, especially in the lagoon, requires small, light, handy canoes called kewo’u  and plates top foreground, and to the for fishing, bigger and more seaworthy canoes called kalipoulo and plates and to the left, also are used; finally, for deep sea sailing, the biggest type is needed, with a considerable carrying capacity greater displacement, and stronger construction. These are called Masaawa. 

Social organization of labour in constructing a canoe we see the natives engaged in an economic enterprise on a big scale. Technical difficulties face them, which require knowledge, and can only be overcome by a continuous systematic effort, and at certain stages must be met by means of communal labour. All this obviously implies some social organization. All the stages of work, at which various people have to co operate, must be co ordinate there must be someone in authority who takes the initiative and gives decisions; and there must be also someone with a technical capacity, who directs the construction. Finally in Kiriwina, communal labour, and the services of experts have to be paid for, and there must be someone who gas the means and is prepared to do it. 

    The sociological differentiation of functions— first of all there is the owner of the canoe that is the chief or the headman of a village of a smaller sub division who takes the responsibility for the undertaking. He pays for the work, engages the expert gives orders and commands communal labour.
    Beside the owner, there is next another office of great sociological importance, namely, that of the expert. He is the man who knows how to construct the canoe, how to do the carvings, and, last, not least, how to perform the magic. All these functions of the expert may be, but not necessarily are, united in one person. The owner is always one individual, but there may be two or raven three experts.
    Finally, the third sociological factor in canoe building consists of the workers. And here there is a further division. First there is a smaller group, consisting of the relations and close friends of the owner of the expert, who help throughout the whole process of construction; and, secondly, there is besides them, the main body of villagers, who take part in the work at those stages where communal labour is necessary.

Sociology of canoes ownership:
    Ownership, giving this word its broadest sense, is the relation, often very complex, between an object and the social community in which it is found. Anthology it is extremely important not to use his word in any narrower sense than that just defined, because the types of ownership found in various parts of the word defer widely. For it is obvious that this connotation presupposes the existence of very highly developed economic and legal conditions, such as they are amongst ourselves, and therefore the term ’own’ as we use it is meaningless, when applied to a native society. Or indeed, what is worse, such an application smuggles a number of preconceived ideas into our description, and before we have begun to give an account of the native conditions, we gave contorted the reader’s outlook.

The social division of functions in the Manning and Sailing of the canoe:
    Very little is to be said under this goading here, since to understand this we must know more about the technicalities of sailing. Here it may be said that a number of men have definite tasks assigned to them. And they keep to these. As a rule a man wills specialize, let us say as steersman, and will always have the rudder given to his care. Captainship, carrying with it definite duties powers and responsibilities, as a position distinct from that of the toliwags does not exist. The owner of the canoe will always take the lead and give orders, provided that he is a good sailor other wise the best sailor from the crew will say what is to be done when difficulties or dangers arise.
    There are at present some sixty four masawa canoes in the Tobriands and Kitava. Out of these, some four belong to the Northern district, where Kula is not practiced; the entire test are built and used for the Kula. In the foregoing I say ‘Kula communities’ that is such groups of villages as carry on the Kula as whole sail together on overseas and of their internal Kula with one another. We shall group the canoes according to the Kula community to which they belong.

Kiriwina                 ...        ..    ..          8 canoes
Luba      ...        ..    ..        3 canoes
Sinaketa          ...        ..    ..       8 canoes
Vkuta                    ...        ..    About 22 canoes
Kayleula          ...     ..    About 20 canoes
Kitava         ...     ..    About 12 canoes
Total                     60 canoes

To this number, the canoes of the Northern district must be added, but they are never sued in the Kula. In older days, this figure was on a rough estimate, more then double of what t is now because first of all there are some villages which had canoes in the old days and now have none and then the member of villages which became extinct a few generations ago is considerable. About half a century age there were in vakuta alone about sixty canoes, in sinaketa at least twenty in Kitava thirty in Kiriwina twenty and in Luba ten. In the district of Luba there are at present only three canoes; one belongs to the chief of highest rank in the village of Olive Levi. This is the biggest canoe in all the Trobriands. Two are in the village of wawelak, and belong to two headmen each ruling over a section of the village; one of them is seen being relashed on plate. The big settlement of sinaketa, consisting of sectional villages, has also canoes. There are about four expert builders and carvers and almost every man there knows a good deal about construction. In vakuta the experts are even more numerous, and this is also the case in Kayleula and Kitava.


    We shall doubtless learn much as to the relation of magic, myth, trading system like Kula, transport like canoes and religion among the Trobriandders from the full report of Dr. Malinowski’s researches in the islands. From the patient observation which he has devoted to a dangle institution, and from the wealth of details with which he has illustrated it, we may judge of the extent and value of the larger work which he has in preparation. It promises to be one of the completes and most scientific accounts ever given of a savage people.

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