Sunday, November 2, 2014

Latte stones (by AM)

When the Chamorros first came to Saipan, they made houses that had something called a Latte Stone("lah-TEE"--not like the coffee) as the foundation.  In modern day Saipan, people use Latte stones mainly as decoration and to celebrate their Chamorro culture.

A school bus stop.
There are a lot of school bus stops that are around here. Most of them have the Latte Stone in their structure.

A village signpost.
This is one of many village signposts: Saipan is made up of 31 villages.

A market sign with Latte Stones.
A lot of stores here on Saipan use the Latte Stone as something creative to hold up their market signs. The Joeten markets are usually seen with a Latte Stone in the "J" letter above the entrance to the store as well as on the shopping bags.

San Vincente church uses the Latte Stones to hold up the roof.
Most churches here use Latte Stones somewhere around the building for decoration and other uses. San Vincente church uses Latte Stones inside and outside of the church as pillars.

Joeten Superstore.
Like Joeten Dandan Market, Joeten Superstore uses Latte Stones to hold up their store sign.

Another Joeten Dandan representation of Latte Stones.
The Latte Stones on the far left and the far right have little lamps on top of them.

Sometimes Latte Stones are not always 3 dimensional, but 2 dimensional (maybe to make carving the stone easier?).
Latte Stones are used for many things here on Saipan. There are many more than I have photos of here.  But the ones you have already seen are a start!

Information about Latte Stones:
  • When the Spaniards first came to Saipan in the early 1500's, they had no idea what the Latte Stones were used for.  They thought that there were only for special kinds of religious buildings and special people.
  • There were different sizes of the original version of the Latte Stones; there were some that towered over the people at a height of 17 feet! There was a smaller version that was only 3 feet high. Nowadays, people believe that the 17 feet high Latte Stones were supposed to be the foundation of  2 or 3 story buildings, and the 3 feet high ones foundations for only 1 story high buildings.
  • The Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands has a Latte Stone in the middle of the lei and behind the star. Since a Latte Stone is in the flag of the Northern Mariana Islands, without knowing anything about Saipan's history, you can tell that the Latte Stone has a role to play in the history.
  • Not only Saipan has the Latte Stones around the island; Guam also has them! Guam has a whole park based on Latte Stones, called Latte Stone Park. Rota also has a site, called Latte Quarry.
  • Latte Stones have been made of limestone, basalt, or sandstone.

1 comment:

beth said...

Well done AM! I'll never drink a latte again without thinking of the stone =)