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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Helmet made of basketry of ie'ie.

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 18thC (?)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 41.5 centimetres
    • Width: 15 centimetres
    • Height: 16.5 centimetres (of crest)
    • Width: 5 centimetres (of crest)
  • Curator's comments

    Description from bound volume of registration slips of Hawaiian artefacts, written by James Edge Partington(?) in the 19th century:
    Feather helmet (mahiole) consisting of a frame of close firm basket-work formed from the aerial roots of the ieie (Freycinettia arnottii) at one time covered with feathers but now all traces have disappeared. From the back rests a long overarching crest. Connected with the head piece by five circular stems.
    See Portrait of Boki,
    L. 19 ½ “
    Registration slip description, written in 1891?:
    Helmet of wicker work with a very highly projecting semicircular ridge connected with the body by 5 spokes of wickerwork of circular section the foremost of which is curved. The openings for the ears are not round, but angular.


    M.S. Cat. 85


  • Bibliography

    • King 1994 bibliographic details
    • Cox 1988 pp.36-41 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: 2011 Feb-May, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Basketry: Making Human Nature 2015 18 Apr- 28 June, Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Museum, History of the World in 100 objects
    2015 14 Jul-6 Sept, Fukuoka, Kyushu National Museum, History of the World in 100 objects

  • Condition


  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    19 November 2010

    Reason for treatment


    Treatment proposal

    Prepare for loan. Surface clean. Check and stabilise any loose elements as required.


    Overall in fairly sound condition; however the lower rim of the helmet is structurally quite weak particularly around the cut-away ear sections; the binding cane is quite loosely attached and the ends of the vertical struts of the plait project out, vulnerable to damage. The helmet appears quite dirty, with soiling ingrained in the fibre.

    Treatment details

    The helmet was surface cleaned first using soft sable hair brush and low powered vacuum cleaner, followed by further cleaning using conservation eraser Groomstick (modified natural rubber). Beyond removing loose surface dust this did not result in removal of ingrained dirt, and the helmet remains slightly soiled in appearance.

    It was decided that strengthening the lower rim of the helmet would be best achieved by provision of good mount for both display, transport and long term storage rather than by more interventive action. This will help avoid the lower rim bearing weight and minimize direct handling in these areas.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Collected on George Vancouver's voyage to Hawaii and the NW coast of North America 1791-1795.

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Oc1891C25.237 (old CDMS no.)


If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: EOC7677

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