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Traditional Fisherman`s Hat (2007)
  • Lamalera village, Lembata
  • Lontar palm leaf
  • 47 x 23 cm. (18.5 x 9 in)
  • Code # C.LE.LA.001

Long tena boathouses, Lamalera , Lembata
The people of Lamalera, a small village perched on the southern shore of Lembata, wear these lontar palm hats in the fields or out at sea. Most Lamalerans survive by subsistence fishing, and they hunt whales, sharks, manta rays, and tuna in the rich waters just offshore. The village has about twenty working boats, called tena in the Lamaholot language, each of which can carry about a dozen men to sea. Tena are completely handmade, with ropes and even sails woven from the leaves of the giant gabang palm (Corypha utan). Each crewmember has a firm job assignment: some row, some bail, one steers, and one stands in the bow with a bamboo harpoon. The fishermen use no guns and no motors. These modern accoutrements are beyond the means of most Lamalera villagers, and their use in only one or two boats would upset the harmony of the community.