Author Topic: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)  (Read 64470 times)

JD~TIAT

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The Hei Toki Lashing is how the Māori (indigenous people
of New Zealand), tie off small highly polished rectangular
blades.



Initially used as woodworking tools, Māori hei toki blades,
and the lashings that accompany them, have become
highly prized pieces of art, sought after the world wide.



About a year ago, my ongoing research into knotting
techniques led me to the Māori lashings. Impressed by
the designs, I'm now revealing the Māori's teachings
to others through my Tying It All Together video series.



Hope you enjoy,

Video Instructions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qCi8yWA8IQ

JD ~ TIAT
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 01:53:42 AM by JD~TIAT »
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DerekSmith

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2010, 12:43:38 PM »
Hi JD,

I have great respect for the quality and quantity of work you bring to the world of knotting.  However, this piece today highlights for me the growing gulf between art and functionality and although it cannot be argued that the Hei Toki is not a thing of beauty, it is above all else primarily a thing of function.  It is a binding, and an exceptionally good one at that.

Sadly, your tutorial has so divorced the binding from its functionality, that followers of your lesson would not be faulted for thinking that the Hei Toki was purely decorative, and that - in my view - is to seriously denigrate the Māori genius that the bindings demonstrate.  Decorative knotters, it seems, have a tendency to loose sight of the fact that many, if not most, decoratives were primarily functional.  Our beloved 'Turks Head' is in fact an excellent example of compounded leverage utilised to create exquisitely tight functional bindings based on the near infinite mechanical advantage available when a tight line is distorted slightly out of line.

In the case of your example of the Hei Toki, you may have missed this feature because you tied the binding out of highly 'elastic' flat braid, presumably for the enhanced visual effect.

If you make this binding as it was intended, using relatively inelastic round cord, and apply the binding tight at every wrap, you will notice that the crossings on the face and the back develop a tendency to 'stand proud'.  This is an indication of the developing tension in the underlying wraps.  You will also notice the early wraps begin to take on an increasing tension such as to become rock hard.  The surface pressure developed by these turns massively increases the cord to object friction and the binding becomes highly functional at retaining its grip on the bound precious object.

One might picture that having spent many hundreds of hours fashioning the precious object in the first place, its owner would have been more than a little foolhardy to bind it with a 'pretty' fixing that let go and lost the item the very first time it came under tension.

Derek
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 09:18:32 AM by DerekSmith »

JD~TIAT

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2010, 05:59:29 PM »
Hi Derek,

The purpose of my video is to show how to tie the Hei
Toki lashing technique. The cord and other materials were
chosen to assist in that effort.

I'm aware that my video only provides a glance of what is
needed to firmly bind an object with the Hei Toki lashing,
and I'm further aware that a glance does not constitute an
observation.

Thus, if someone is interested in a deeper understanding of
the functionality of the Hei Toki tie they should consult a
book illustrating the techniques and concepts associated with
Maori bone or stone carving.

Only then can the information in my video, and the
functionality you referenced, be fully realized.   

Respectfully,

JD ~ TIAT
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JD~TIAT

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2010, 06:52:12 PM »
Also... So everyone knows.

The Hei Toki lashing is not what holds the bone or stone
to the necklace. As the following images illustrate (taken
during my systematic de-constructive research), the Hei
Toki is suspended from a cord looped through a hole at
the top of the bone or stone (no knots, bindings or lashings).



The Hei Toki lashing hides this fact, making it "effectively"
decorative. Further the Hei Toki lashing stays in place (i.e.
does not slip off the top of the stone or bone) on account
of notches carved into the Hei Toki's right and left top
(seen in the image above).



Again, consulting a book illustrating the techniques and
concepts associated with Maori bone or stone carving
will reveal this.

Sometimes beauty hides the truth...

JD ~ TIAT  
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 07:24:58 PM by JD~TIAT »
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DerekSmith

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 09:41:52 AM »
Well discovered JD

Derek

Rrok007

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 08:23:44 PM »
Nice! I've been looking for a finishing touch to use with a number of bottles that I have for renfair uses.

squarerigger

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2010, 05:32:15 AM »
JD

First and foremost thank you for making this, clearly decorative knot, clear.  You have done us a great favor, although I think the Maori people may wish not to have their "secrets" revealed.  ;D The deed is done however, so let us use this gift wisely, as I feel that you have done.

Derek, you comment that this was supposed to be made with round cord - you may have intended to reference the original round paracord that JD appears to have used after stripping out the core.  According to my thinking (and I do not have any source book reference as yet to back up my thought) this wrap, although it is found in gift stores tied in round (and sometimes flat section) leather, appears to me that it would be best (most economically and easily, using local materials) tied in flat material as JD has done.  Is not one of the most common "cords" in use among the Maori people and Pacific Islanders a flat strapping made from the husk of the coconut seed or the palm leaf?  The fiber is readily braided and coconut husk fibers may be substituted by using palm leaves, suitably stripped of the central vein or stalk.  Things to think about....  :-\

Lindsey

SpitfireTriple

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2010, 11:13:54 AM »
Yet another excellent tutorial from JD.

I found your Also, so everyone knows post even more illuminating though.

I agree with Derek (if he will allow me to paraphrase him) that the most beautiful knot is one which serves a practical function.  The Maori lashing, whilst pretty, is less beautiful to me if it serves mainly to hide the "real" knot.  But that's my viewpoint.  For you on the other hand my interest predominantly revolves around decorative knots.  If everyone came at things from the same angle it would be a dull world.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2010, 11:20:35 AM by SpitfireTriple »

DerekSmith

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2010, 02:38:03 PM »
Hi Lindsey, SpitfireTripple and JD,

While I have to accept JD's excellent piece of reverse engineering to show us exactly how his sample was attached, on further cogitation I have to admit that I think there is more here than meets the eye.

Today, web shops are full of Hei Toki style lashings on decorative stone / bone etc. ornaments, and they all tend to follow a similar trend - the ornament is heavily 'relieved' to hold the ornamental binding, and they all tend to have a necklace style similar to the one JD opened up for us.

Unfortunately, I have found it impossible to locate any of the Hei Toki images that I accessed four years ago, I think they were mostly museum pieces of this very old art form.  However, from recollection, their termination to the necklace started with a wrapped section rather than going straight into the necklace as today's samples do.

Back in 2006, I tied my first attempts at this binding and was amazed at the tension and grip the binding built up as the binding was progressively applied.  It wasn't until two years later that I realised / discovered how the binding achieved this ferocious grip



I tied the binding with only small shoulders on the 'ornament' and without any necklace hole - no secrets, nothing hidden.  The nature of the binding was such that any tension on the necklace simply amplified the grip of the binding on its mount.  Later, when I realised how the binding achieves this, I understood how this beautiful binding is also a testament to the Māori skill at fusing form, function and beauty into the same work - indeed - 'Beauty had nothing to hide...' - a veritable Godiva of a binding, much like our very own Anglo Saxon beauty who demonstrated much strength without hiding anything...

So, although JD has demonstrated that modern jewellery uses hidden holes, I have to admit that I remain unconvinced that the creators of this fixing used such contrivances when the power of this binding is such that it does not need any such contrivance - it has strength, power and beauty all with transparent simplicity.  For me, that feels much more in line with the principles of 'Nation' than the wearing of an ornamental dressing to hide the reality of a simple (even if beautifully formed) hole.

Derek
« Last Edit: April 13, 2010, 05:40:56 PM by DerekSmith »

SpitfireTriple

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2010, 02:58:31 PM »
Yet more illumination, this time from Derek!

IGKT has some little gems tucked away.

JD~TIAT

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2010, 05:17:00 PM »
I believe the following image shows the technique Derek is
referencing. Indeed it appears the lashing (referred to as a
Snood Lashing) does not include the eyehole my three
deconstructed Hei Toki necklaces do.



The tie, however, still requires notches to hold the lashing
in place.

JD ~ TIAT
« Last Edit: April 13, 2010, 05:23:27 PM by JD~TIAT »
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DerekSmith

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2010, 07:42:13 PM »
Again, well found JD.

Indeed, this binding requires the side shoulders to give the first point of compression, but the top notch shown in the diagrams is not necessary as the opposing bindings bear against one another.  The other thing (as I mentioned earlier) that is necessary is a 'hard' cord - one that is neither elastic nor compressible.  This way, as the progressive lashings are applied, they lengthen the lashings beneath them and so create tension, which in turn creates grip.  If the cord is elastic, then the extension in length does not rapidly increase tension and if the cord is compressible, then the tension simply causes the cord to bunch up against the compression shoulder, again failing to maintain tension and produce that all important grip.

Excellent find though, especially the neat trick of pre placing the pull through, then winding the binding from a loop.  I guess that you would have to be very careful to ensure that the twist this puts into the cord increases the natural lay twist of the cord rather than undoing it.  Increasing the lay twist would have the additional advantage of further hardening the cord.  To make the binding in the manner shown you would need to use 'S' laid binding cord in order to tighten the lay twist.  Standard 'Z' twist would have to be wrapped in the other direction to prevent it from being driven to unravel.  The example shown uses a 'Z' laid 'rope', so the individual strings that the bindings are made from will be 'S' laid and so will tighten nicely.

Braid of course, cannot be twisted, so would perform badly, even if it had been made from a non stretching fibre.

Out of interest, where did you find the reference to 'Snood Lashing'?

Derek

JD~TIAT

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2010, 05:20:40 AM »
I've read several books regarding Maori carvings and lashings in
preparation of making my video. I further plan to show how to tie
the lashings in my second fusion knot book (working on now - I've
used the techniques to create new knots). As your posts pushed
forward, I came to realize you were talking about snoods and not
the lashings used to cover the necklace connection point of a Hei
Toki. This is the reason I posted the the follow up information.

Also called a "snell", a snood is a short line with a baited hook at one
end. Most of the original Maori lashing techniques were used to fix
hooks or shanks to fishing lines - not to make necklaces.
  
The snood lashing shown in the image I linked is NOT connecting a
Hei Toki to a necklace cord. It is showing how to connect the top
of a shank or hook (with a mesial notch) to a fishing line via a snood
lashing.
 
The lashing is not (simply) decorative on account it is being used in
the hopes of catching a fish.

Web Reference Link: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-BucTheC-t1-g1-t2-body1-d9-d3.html

Hope that helps,

JD ~ TIAT

p.s. Here are a few books you may wish to read:

1. Rauru: Tene Waitere, Maori Carving, Colonial History by Nicholas Thomas
2. Bone Carving: A Skillbase of Techniques and Concepts by Stephen Myhre
3. Art of Maori carving by Sidney M. Mead
4. Maori Carving & Maori Carving For Beginners by Phillipps, W. J
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 05:57:41 AM by JD~TIAT »
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JD~TIAT

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2010, 06:18:01 AM »
Further...

The following are traditionally carved Hei Toki pendants from the Museum of New Zealand's private collection (1900 - 1950).


Notice the holes in the pendant tops, they're used to connect the cord to the necklace. Continuing through the site's collection
reveals other pendants (the first one shown was purchased in 1932) all possess holes at their tops.

Link 1: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/ObjectDetails.aspx?oid=164550&coltype=Taonga%20Maori&regno=ME005058

Link 2: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/Term.aspx?irn=61

The techniques for drilling these holes are shown in the books I listed. The Hei Toki Lashing is used to cover the appearance of
these connection points.  

JD ~ TIAT
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 06:19:52 AM by JD~TIAT »
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DerekSmith

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Re: How to Tie the Māori Hei Toki Lashing by TIAT (Video Instructions)
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2010, 09:08:28 AM »
Hi JD

I appreciate the point you make about the two Hei Toki and the jade Tiki all being perforated, but you will notice that none of them have the all critical 'force shoulders' necessary to create the binding, therefore all these three items would have been simply strung on a three strand braid as in the example from the book you have brought us.



Thank you so much for the link to 'The Coming of the Maori' by Sir Peter Buck, it is an amazing study of the Maori and in such excellent detail.  However, while he was clearly an ethnologist of the very highest order, he seemingly was not a knot tyer and although he has recorded many bindings, I doubt that he ever tied any, and I further doubt his amazing grasp of the Maori included their intuitive understanding of binding.

Thankfully, the book you have brought us, clears up quite nicely the point I was making that this binding is first and foremost functional.  And the fact that it is now utilised as a cheap symbolism on modern jewellery is simply a flattering imitation of the functional tools developed by a people who had a deep understanding of the nature and function of the materials available to them.

Buck calls it the 'Triangle Lashing' and shows it in use to form fish hooks and to bind adze blades to their shafts.  These bindings had to be viciously functional in order to take the forces involved in use without loosing grip and most importantly - none of them require any 'holes' - the lashing is a binding of exquisite design and functionality of its own right - it is no wonder that it has been utilised to symbolise Maori culture.