- Museum number
Helmet (mahiole) made of 'ie'ie plant roots (freycinetia arborea?), olona plant fibre, i'iwi (red feathers), o'o and mamo (yellow and black) bird feathers.
- Production date
- 18thC (before 1780)
Height: 71.50 centimetres (crate)
Height: 23 centimetres
Length: 22 centimetres
Width: 49.50 centimetres (crate)
Width: 21 centimetres
Depth: 50.50 centimetres (crate)
- Curator's comments
Description from bound volume of registration slips of Hawaiian artefacts, written by James Edge Partington(?) in the 19th century:
Helmet of Greek form, of wickerwork made from the aerial roots of the ieie (Freycinettia arnottii). The top of the ridge is covered with yellow feathers & the sides with red. The sides of the helmet are black, and the curves for the ears have a narrow red edging.
In 2012 Julian Hume from the Natural History Museum identified the feathers as being from birds endemic to the Hawaiian Islands; the i'iwi bird (red feathers), the o'o or the mamo bird (yellow feathers and black feathers) - the latter two birds are now extinct.
Kaeppler 2013 confirms that the basketry structure is made from the split aerial rootlets of the ie'ie screwpalm plant, which are intertwined and covered with a netting of high-grade fibre made from the olona plant, which the feathers, teeth, hair and shell are attached to. This unusual type of helmet is the kind that is believed to have been worn by chiefs on the Island of Kaua'i. It probably had red feather covered cords extending from the sides of the crest and another cord of feathers attached to the edge to keep it from chafing.
See Kaeppler, A. Power, prayer and plumage in HALI, Spring 2013, Issue 1.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1979 – 1980 15 Feb-29 Sept, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Captain Cook in the South Seas
2009-2010 28 Aug-28 Feb, Bonn, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific
2010 10 May-13 Sept, Vienna, Museum of Ethnology, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific
2010-2011 7 Oct-13 Feb, Bern, Historical Museum, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Previously thought to have been collected on George Vancouver's voyage to Hawaii and the NW coast of North America 1791-1795. However, Adrienne Kaeppler records this mahiole as having been depicted by Sarah Stone while it was in the Leverian Museum, which indicates it was collected during Cook's third voyage (1776-1780).
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Oc1891C25.236 (old CDMS no.)