Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kihawahine Dragon Goddess

I need to select photos of this piece to submit for the jury process, to see if my work can be accepted into the Hawaii Artist Museum Show.  Can you tell me which you think I should choose?

The wings, which can be removed

Kihawahine without her wings....

 Dragons. Lizards. Deities. Whatever word used to invoke them, mo‘o rank among Hawai‘i’s most mysterious mythic creatures. They figure into the oldest Hawaiian stories and are a key to a deep, nearly forgotten magic.

Most mo‘o of legend are female, shapeshifters capable of appearing as beautiful maidens or water dragons. They dwell in caves, pools, and fishponds and are fierce guardians of freshwater sources. According to nineteenth-century Hawaiian historian Samuel Kamakau, when fires were lit on altars near their homes, the mo‘o would appear: twelve- to thirty-foot-long reptiles, black as night, glistening in the water. “If given a drink of awa,” he writes, “they would turn from side to side like the keel of a canoe.”

Mo‘o are said to possess profound powers: They are omniscient. They can manipulate weather. Even their disembodied tongues and tails have potency. The more vicious among their tribe have been known to summon giant waves to sweep trespassers from trails, or drown victims in pits of poisonous phlegm. But not all mo‘o are malevolent; many are beloved protectors who lend aid to their devotees.

At one time, fishponds and pools throughout Hawai‘i had stone markers signifying their resident mo‘o. Ancient Hawaiians believed that if a mo‘o guardian received proper nurture, she would respond in like manner, ensuring fat harvests and healthy stream flow. But if she were neglected, she would wreak havoc. The underlying philosophy was respect for the land — a basic tenet of Hawaiian culture.


Kihawahine with her wings and on her base.

1 comment:

Lottie said...

I would you choose either a close up of her face the fourth picture down or else her completed and mounted on the plinth - or both!