Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Warrior's Neck Ornament

19th–early 20th century
Papua New Guinea, Admiralty Islands
Admiralty Islands
Wood, paint, frigate bird feathers, fiber, parinarium-nut paste
H. 19 3/4 in. (50.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Gustave and Franyo Schindler, 1980
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 354
In addition to the weapons they carried, warriors in the Admiralty Islands formerly wore neck ornaments that served as powerful war charms believed to render the wearer invulnerable to enemies. Most portray stylized human heads (or rarely, full figures) with flaring bases made from trimmed frigate bird feathers. The ornaments were worn on the back of the neck, secured by a necklace of cordage tied so tightly that the head faced upward and the feathers projected horizontally. Used throughout the archipelago, they appear to have been produced only by certain groups, such as the Matankol people of northern Manus Island, and traded to neighboring peoples. Warfare on the islands ceased in the early 1900s, but contemporary Admiralty Islanders continue to wear the ornaments as dance regalia.
Gustave and Franyo Schindler, New York, until 1980

Nevermann, Hans. "Admiralitats-Inseln." In Ergebnisse der Südsee-Expedition 1908-1910, edited by Georg Thilenius. Vol. Sect. II, pt. A, vol. 3. Hamburg: L.Friederichsen & Co., 1934.

Ohnemus, Sylvia. An Ethnology of the Admiralty Islanders: The Alfred Bühler Collection. Bathurst and Honolulu: Crawford House Publishing, 1998.

Kjellgren, Eric. Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, 66, 110-1.

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