What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by


helmet / armour

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Helmet (armour) 'te barantauti' made of porcupine fish skin, coconut fibre (coir), vegetable fibre and human hair. The body of a porcupine fish has been expanded and made into a helmet. Ear guards are cut from the fish's body and a two-ply twisted coir tie is used for fastening. Pieces of vegetable fibre and human hair line the front of the helmet.


  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 19thC
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 37.5 centimetres
    • Width: 31 centimetres
    • Depth: 23 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Information from Pacific Art in Detail: Kiribati warriors were known for their ferocity. They also had the most fully developed armour in the Pacific. In Kiribati, wars were often fought over an insult, or over territory.

  • Bibliography

    • Newell 2011 pp.114-115 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

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

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Registration slip reads: Presented by Harry J. Veitch Esq. 1887 Harry Veitch, head of the horticultural business James Veitch & Sons of Chelsea, gave artefacts to the British Museum deriving from the company's plant collectors in various parts of the world. The Solomon Islands artefacts he gave in 1887 were collected by his brother John Gould Veitch as botanist on the voyage of HMS Curacoa to the Solomons in 1865 (Waite 1987:11).

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


Helmet made of fish skin, fish tail, fibre.

Helmet made of fish skin, fish tail, fibre.

Image description



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

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: EOC6214

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help