Initiation Board

Native NameMaramaraitapa
Object Number:67-5-49
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: Solomon Islands
Santa Catalina
Palm Leaf (uncertain)
Length: 55.5 cm
Width: 15 cm
Credit Line:William Kohler Expedition; William H. Davenport, 1967


The board is cut and decorated to represent the bow or the stern of a bonito canoe. When complete the square, broad end is covered with pandanas leaves to make a closed pouch. When the pouch is tacked to the board some small presents are placed inside (tobacco, trinkets, etc.) Each initiate carriers one of those pouch-boards when he emerges from isolation and goes to the coming out platform where the group is welcomed back into the community. After the coming out ceremony, the board is given to a girl of his age prior to a symbolic marriage ceremony. The girl takes the presents from the pouch and the board is then hung from a tree is the women's latrine area until it disintegrates. This board was used in the initiation ceremony ending in October 1966 at Santa Catalina Is. Each maramaraitapa is made by the initate's father, maternal uncle, or older brother who is responsible for putting together the costume which the intitate wears during the re-entry celebration.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Sex: A History in 30 Objects (17 Oct 2015 - 31 Jul 2016) View Objects in Exhibition

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