Tongan Lauhala Roll - Lau'akau
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The Tongan people hold the items made with lauhala or lau'akau, with respect. Tongans pride themselves on having some of the best lauhala weavers. To do so, they need a lot of lauhala and a lot of hands to create the handcrafted masterpieces of artwork that adorn homes, businesses and galleries.
Lauhala or lau'akau are the favored leaves of Tonga crafters to weave fine floor and bedding mats, baskets and fans. They are also used to make canoe sails upon occasion, clothing, hats, bracelets, slippers and perhaps most notably the waist skirts known as ta'ovala.
The lau'akau are cut when the leaves are still green. They are cleaned and the thorns are removed. To get the lighter color, the leaves are taken and soaked in the ocean. And after the leaves are dried, they are gathered to make rolls.
Most of the work preparing and weaving is done by women who usually work together making the various handicrafts. Most items that are created use a standard interlocking weaving method or a binding technique using strips wound around coconut midribs.
Each of the larger rolls is made up of approximately 80 leaves. Smaller rolls have approximately 60 leaves. Each leaf is approximately 39 inches (1 meter) and averages about 2 inches in width. Imported. Product of Tonga.
Rolls are somewhat less refined than that of our other rolls from the other islands.