Necklace (lei niho palaoa)


Not on view

The pronounced upward curve of this walrus ivory pendant is likely a stylized reference to a tongue. Its incorporation into the necklace signals the importance of oratory in chiefly pursuits. The crescent-­shaped form, a design vital to embodying the divine, also acted as a counterpoint to the crested helmet that protected the head of the chief. Cords of intricately plaited human hair suggest a genealogical link between high­-ranking chiefs and their ancestral gods.

Necklace (lei niho palaoa), Walrus ivory, human hair, fiber (’olonā), Hawai'i

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