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Feather headdress

Not on view

The arch of this spectacular headdress evokes the vaulted dome of the sky. Its dazzling, cosmologically charged feathers and sec- tions of shell, which Polynesians valued for their rarity and shimmer, held the power to act as divine conduits. Thought to be directly descended from the first line of creator gods—described in origin chants as feathered beings—the warrior-chiefs who wore such headdresses did so to reinforce their sanctity and legitimize their right to rule.

Feather headdress, Feathers (various, including jungle fowl, Pacific black duck, and lorikeet [vini kura]), shell, barkcloth, human hair, cane, fiber (various)

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