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Lines That ConnectRethinking Pattern and Mind in the Pacific$
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Graeme Were

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833848

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833848.001.0001

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Pattern, Performance, and Mission Christianity

(p.61) Three Asymmetries
Lines That Connect

Graeme Were

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explores the conditions under which pattern no longer connects images to ideas. It does this by questioning the role pattern played in the Nalik people's conversion to Christianity, giving a historical account of the tensions between the missionaries and local people in New Ireland with the missions' arrival in the late nineteenth century. It shows that Naliks embraced certain images associated with the Christian mission and situated them within the ritual economy, a set of rites tied to a recognisable pattern of spatial and temporal events. Examining new patterned forms of funerary art that emerged with missionary activity on the island—such as decorative pillars in mission buildings, gravestones, and carvings depicting biblical scenes—the chapter looks at the difficulties local people experienced in engaging with these new religious forms.

Keywords:   pattern, Nalik people, religious conversion, Christianity, missionaries, New Ireland, images, ritual economy, funerary art, religious forms

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