Summary

Women in Buka and Bougainville continue to wear these capes. There are three types: 1) undecorated, 2) with two to six red bands placed along their width 3) with intricately patterned stitching. All three types are worn at important events such as weddings, births, a girl's initiation or at funerals.

Capes are made from strips of pandanus leaves rubbed with sand, dried and sewn together into a double layer. The intricate decoration of the sinsus (such as the one displayed here) is made by overstitching red pandanus fibre thread (dyed using the roots of the Morinda citrifolia tree), or black fibre (dyed using parts of a wild banana). Only women who are the highest ranking chiefs or paramount chiefs wear sinsu.

All three types fend off the sun and rain. But they also keep the wearer hidden from her male in-laws. During a woman's marriage, the bride's mother wears the cape to prevent eye contact with the groom's family. There are many stages in a marriage and during the final one the groom offers shell valuables to the bride's mother. In accepting the valuables, the mother gives her approval to the marriage and the groom lifts the cape from his future mother-in-law

Physical Description

This cape is made from pandaus leaf, with an intricate pattern in red and black stitched onto it.

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