THE CONTINUATION OF TRADITIONAL MARSHALLESE ARTS AND HANDICRAFTS

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By Caroline Yacoe

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (January 3, 2002)---While western influences have affected much of Marshallese life, some of their traditional practices remain strong.

Clan affiliation, traditional healing, navigation skills and the resurgence of the unique asymmetrical sailing canoes are some examples.

On the outer atolls women maintain the horizontal weaving of pandanus mats. Interestingly Micronesian weaving differs from that of Polynesia in that the pattern is straight t across rather than diagonal.

"Kili" bags, originated by Bikinians relocated to Kili Island, continue to be a popular item with both locals and tourists.

In the limited land area of the Marshall Islands shells are of great value and take the place of gemstones in other cultures. Cowries, tridachna and other shells unique to their waters are worked into delicate string weavings for jewelry and adorn many other objects.

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