This new 250 XPF stamp issue pays tribute to the Kanak art of weaving, an ancestral skill mastered by all the peoples of Melanesia.
In traditional Kanak society, women are the exclusive guardians and practitioners of the art of weaving items from plant materials (stalks, leaves, fibres), and pass their skills on from generation to generation. They weave a wide variety of household items (baskets of every size, hats, fans, toys...), some of which, such as the woven mats that are an essential adjunct of everyday life and the woven artifacts used as traditional Kanak money, are heavily imbued with cultural significance.
A wide range of materials and techniques are used to make articles throughout the New Caledonian island group, and each region has developed its own each weaving techniques (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, spiral weaves) depending on the plants found growing locally in each area.
The main plant materials used in weaving are coconut palm leaves, which are flexible and can be woven rapidly, pandanus leaves, liana vines and rushes, plus fibres extracted from aloe vera plants and cotton trees.
Over recent decades, a number of initiatives (fairs and festivals, practical lessons, workshops, information gathering...) have been organised in New Caledonia, particularly through women's associations, with the aim of preserving and promoting both ancient and contemporary weaving techniques.