Nā Lei Makamae –The Treasured Lei


University of Hawaii Press
Marie McDonald & Paul Weissich
Hardcover, 183 pp.

This volume covers eighty-five flowers and plants (and another dozen color variations) used in traditional lei construction. They are arranged according to their Hawaiian names and accompanied by botanical information and descriptions gleaned from legends and chants that illustrate the cultural uses and special meanings of lei prior to Western contact. Many are introduced by poems written especially for this work by master kumu hula, linguist, and ethnologist Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele.

The authors present the lei art form in not only words, but also pictures. Lavish color photographs by Jean Coté showcase each plant and lei (shown by itself or worn), as well as places throughout the Islands associated with specific flowers and plants. An appendix includes a complete list of lei plants, basic instructions for their propagation, and other sources for material.

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Weight 3 lbs