More on Twine


Queegueg making a mat with a heavy oaken sword, "which thus finally shapes and fashions both warp and woof; this easy, indifferent sword must be chance--aye, chance, free will, and necessity--nowise incompatible--all interweavingly working together." (Moby Dick, p. 177 Chapter XLVII "the Mat-maker.") Isn't Queegueg's character understood by some critics as a token of ambivalent sexuality, the shaman as androgyne?

So too Marcel Duchamp/Rrose Selavy, under the guise of kryptofemininity, as in Man Rays' famous portrait of the Drag Quean. [Above] He got away with it, and the paradox of artist/anti-artist Dada gesture of finally not showing up at Janis' opening of the Surrealist "16 miles of string" installation. The theater piece of Carrol Janis' 11 year-old son & friends "playing" must have been discussed in SOME detail, because the props were apparent; tails arranged.

Twine literally translates to buddy as "ficelle" (Schwartz, p. 514). Also sounds like "twin" and is cognate. Twine art has in most cultures been associated with women's handicraft, as in Indonesia. However, in Hopi tradition, men weave (Herbert the Bonesetter); among the silk weavers of Turkestan, men ikat dye the cloth for caftans among the Uzbeks. In India, Ghandi had the women spin, but the issue which most dramatically spurred rebellion was the salt tax (see Goody, gamelle). There is the Huichol yarn about salt and the Federales, who cut them off from the sea in or around 1906 and Mauretanians and the salt caravan. Trungpa Rinpoche, tells of cylindrical "Carey Salt" boxes with a name that could be read as an injunction "to carry salt" with you. In Tibet the necessity for salt could be life or death. Then there's Marchand du sel: Salt seller.

Kurt von Meier