Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Summer/Fall 2018

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Page 108 of 315

Don the Beachcomber in L.A. and Trader Vic's in San Francisco. Collectible even then, customers cherished their Tiki mugs and communal tropical drink bowls, which still turn up in thrift shops and flea markets, as people from Southern California have been visiting the islands for the past 50 years. This Tiki Bar craze sparked 1950s backyard luaus, as hostesses served up Planter's Punch donned in shell necklaces and loose fitting dresses called muumuus, while the men manned the grills wearing matching attire floral shirts. Collecting all things Hawaiian is a medley of '60s surfing memorabilia, fossils, shells, postcards, pillow shams, aloha shirts, ukuleles, pre-1950 Matson Line Menus, lamps, lighters with topless island girls, coconut bras, carved pineapple shaped monkey pod bowls and dashboard hula girl bob- ble heads, none of which are authentic to the Hawaiian culture. The public's interpretation of Hawaiian was quite different from the real heart of the Islands. During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, native Hawaiians set out to reclaim their culture. Hula instructors began teaching students traditional and historic forms of the dance that entailed more authentic dress. Hawaiians embraced their native language and stud- ied traditional navigational practices and the ancient martial art known as lua. Authentic Hawaiian crafts like featherwork were also revived at this time. For the last 50 years, the products of this renaissance have co-exist- ed with kitschy souvenir items and ephemera. For Hawaii, the word "traditional" properly refers to the "precontact" era, before Cook's arrival in 1778. It is based on the concept that predates contact with Europeans and immigration from east and southeast Asia, as their influence in food and design changed the eco system of the Islands. These rare and early remnants of the past that pre-date Cook's arrival in 1778, are highly collectible and are priced for the advanced collector only. Some examples of precontact pieces are found in items like a kou wood bowl carved in the shape of a canoe with one figure pushing and one figure pulling the canoe, priced at $1,500. Another fascinating prac- tice is of inlaid shell eyes in a carved mask, which predates the use of metal tools and indicates the carving was done with a shark's tooth. It is precontact because it is of a style which disappeared long before 1825, and priced at $1,300. While those precious and rare items are a true reflection of Hawaii's Hand-crafted ukele- les are a reflection of Hawaii's music, while coconut cups and a Trader Vic's cocktail vessel find their way into collector's Tiki bars. (bottom right) Rare carved koa wood palm tree bowling trophies from the 1970s. C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 8 107

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