- Museum number
Helmet (mahiole) made of 'ie'ie vine, olonā fibre netting and red, yellow and black feathers. Helmet woven from 'ie'ie, closely shaped to head with a high crescent-shaped crest. Covered with a knotted fibre netting of olonā, with red feathers from the i'iwi bird. The top of the crest is covered with yellow feathers of the common amakihi (?) or Mamo bird and with red feathers from the i'iwi (?) bird. The helmet is edged with a band consisting of yellow and small black feathers in alternate sections. The black feathers could be from the O’o or Mamo bird.
- Production date
- 18thC (before 1780)
Height: 37 centimetres
Width: 3 inches (of crest - from registration slip)
Width: 17 centimetres
Depth: 30 centimetres (front to back)
- Curator's comments
Registration slip information, handwritten:
?Banks Coll [in different handwriting to remainder]
Helmet, na mahiole, of basketwork (made of aerial roots of the ie ie tree) with high overarching crest, & covered with feathers on a foundation of olona netting. The top of the crest is of red & yellow in alternate transverse rows. The sides both of crest and body are scarlet: the front edge of the body has a black & yellow binding.
W. of crest 3"
H. of " 5"
Description from bound volume of registration slips of Hawaiian artefacts, written by James Edge Partington(?) in the 19th century:
Feather helmet (na mahiole). The framework is of close firm basket work covered with a network of olona fibre to which the feathers are attached. The crest is high with overarching front, the upper surface is covered with yellow (amakihi – Drepanis flava) & scarlet (iiwi – vestaria coccinia) feathers in alternate rows the rest of the helmet is covered with the scarlet feathers with an edging of yellow 7 black ones.
**Please note the latin name for Amakihi is not Drepanis flava.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1975 – 1985 12 Dec-23 Jun, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Hawaii
1979 – 1980 15 Feb-29 Sept, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Captain Cook in the South Seas (temporarily removed from Museum of Mankind, Hawaii exhibition 1975 – 1985)
1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.220
1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.220
1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.220
2010 Sept-Dec, London, BM History of the World 100 objects
2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2015-2016 29 Aug-10 Apr, San Francisco, DeYoung Museum, Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali'I
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Thought to have been collected during Cook's third voyage (1776-1780), which included visits to the islands of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii. As this style of helmet was associated with chiefs of the island of Hawaii, it is likely that it was collected early in 1779 when the Resolution and Discovery spent time there, particularly in Kealakekua Bay. Adrienne Kaeppler (1978, p.73) suggests the helmet was bequeathed to Sir Joseph Banks from Captain Charles Clerke of the Discovery, who died on the voyage.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Oc17??D6.108 (old CDMS no.)