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helmet / armour

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Helmet made of coconut fibre (coir). The coir is plaited into coils which are secured together, one on top of the other and covered by two-ply twisted interlinking cords of coconut fibre. Two ear guards extend from the rim of the helmet, and plaited coconut fibre ties for fastening extend from these ear guards. There is a hole at the apex.


  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 1892 (pre)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Circumference: 77 centimetres (rim)
    • Height: 23.5 centimetres (rim)
    • Length: 9.5 centimetres (ear flaps)
    • Thickness: 2 centimetres (rim)
  • Curator's comments

    1938 register information: Label:
    'Helmet used with coat of mail. GILBERT IS. J.K.B. Lister, 1891'

  • Exhibition history

    1983–1986 16 Dec-29 Jun, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Pattern of islands: Micronesia yesterday and today

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    25 February 1997

    Treatment proposal

    Light clean. Repair loose coconut fibre.


    Dusty. Chin-strap broken. Fibres loose in several areas - evidence of previous treatment: shiny, discoloured adhesive.

    Treatment details

    Removed dust using brush and vacuum suction. Cleaned most obvious areas of old adhesive using cotton-wool swabs and Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol). Repaired broken strap using very fine twists of Japanese tissue paper (pre-coloured using Rowney's Cryla colours (acrylic)), secured in place with sodium alginate and arrowroot starch paste. Loose fibes secured using painted Japanese tissue twists and adhesive as described above. Repair to strap toned to match object more closely using Rowney's Cryla colours (acrylic).

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Register reads, for collection Oc1938,1001 as a whole: Given by Miss E. K. B. Lister, 11 Western Terrace, Falmouth. / Collected by the donor's father and brother (in whose memory they are given).

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


Helmet made of coconut fibre.

Helmet made of coconut fibre.

Image description



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Object reference number: EOC18757

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