Wickerwork Head from Hawaii

Title: Wickerwork Head from Hawaii
Description: A wickerwork figure of a stylised human head (‘aumakua hulu manu), with wide-open mouth defined by rows of the canine teeth of dogs. Made of a wickerwork frame covered with vegetable fibre netting; once covered with feathers, they have almost all been lost. The bases of some feather shafts remain, but not enough to discern their colour. There is no inlay in the oval eye sockets and both the framework and netting are damaged in places. In 1827 it was commented that it “has been covered with the red feathers of the Hook-billed Red Creeper”, indicating that perhaps the feathers were already missing by 1827. They had certainly gone by about 1870. Such images are usually said to represent Kukailimoku, the Hawaiian war deity.Such a figure illustrated by John Webber, British Library Add.Ms.15514 f.27
Acquired from the Allan Museum
Published in Jessop, L. & Starkey, J. (1998) No Contemptible Workmanship: Material culture of the Pacific region represented in the Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne. Newcastle upon Tyne: Tyne & Wear Museums.
Date:pre-1800
Author:
Dimensions:800mm high, 180mm wide, 370mm deep
Collection: The Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne
Reference no: NEWHM: C584
Record no.:HancockC584e
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