by Jo Tumbe Mangi
As mentioned above, the bulk of the stone adzes 1 used by the Huli were traded into the study area. Here I briefly discuss the Huli perception and knowledge of stone adzes and how they differentiate the different types of adzes before looking at where these items are actually obtained from. The first point to make is that during the individual interviews my Huli informants offered a lot of information on the different types of stone adzes. Each differentiated between types of adzes and gave the source from which these axes supposedly came. However, when all this information was put together there was little consistency, particularly when they were asked to do it for the demonstration adzes. It appears that the main criterion for determining the type of adze is based not on the shape of the stone adze but on the material that it is made from, that is the type of rock. Even with this, when they were asked to define the differentiating factors, few went on to elaborate further. They just simply said that they knew. I look at a possible explanation of this at the end of this discussion.
The Huli differentiate several types of adzes. The main ones that I came across most often are: Warabia, ayu Mukalo, ayu Kudina, ayu Habina, ayu Pogorali, and Tindi ayu. There was a general consensus amongst the informants that Warabia came in from both the Duna and the Duguba. However when asked in the interview if they ever acquired any adzes from the Duguba, most of the informants said that they never got their adzes from the Duguba.
Therefore it was not possible to work out the values for adzes from the Duguba area. Mukalo is reported to have come from Mt. Mukalo, hari Mukalo, in Muritaka near Laiagam. However when I went into the Muritaka area of the Enga Province the people there denied ever producing these axes. On the other hand, Burton ( 1984:Table 1. 1) does mention the name Mangalo as a stone axe source name from the Enga area. They said that they got theirs from further west. Ayu Kudina, ayu Habina and ayu Pogorali also come in from the Obena.
Tindi literally means, ‘ground adze’. This term is used to refer to all the adzes that the Huli made themselves from stone that they found in the river and creek beds or in other areas where there were large pebble exposures. One of the informants, Kayako Hiwapuk, went on to say something else that further confused the issue. He claimed that when the Tindi ayu was finally ground down in the desired shape they would look at the adze and then decide whether it looked similar to any of the other adzes and name it after them but with the term negane in the end of the name. Negane literally means, ‘jaw’. For example, if it looks similar to ayu Habina, then it would be called~ Habina negane. As I said, this really confuses the issue and I believe there is a lot more work to be done before we get any in-depth knowledge of the issue.
The reason that I think that the Huli are inconsistent in how they differentiate between the different types of adzes may stem from the simple fact that they are so far away from the sources where these adzes are made that by the time they get them the intimate and often rather miniscule knowledge that goes into differentiating the different types is lost. It is equally possible that I did not pursue this whole issue deeply enough to appreciate whatever pattern there may be there. The only thing that really stood in this observation was that when the informants looked at the Medium 1 adze they immediately said that that was the most highly prized of adzes. They claimed that they acquired it from the Obena. John Burton (pers. comm.) says that the stone comes from the Tuman axe quarry in the Western Highlands Province that , it should it equate with kundina, the western corruption of Kunjin, a quarry name.
- The main purpose for stone adzes was for chopping wood, however, traditionally some of the bigger adzes were given in bride price. They were also exchanged for pigs within Huli but were not given in compensation payments [↩]