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Neck Ornament

2006.44.420 (RS250967)

Description

Hawaiian "lei niho palaoa" neck ornament with a large, carved ivory pendant attached to many strands made from tightly braided human hair. Worn only by men and women of the elite class - ali'i - lei niho palaoa were potent symbols of status and sacred power.\n

Details

Maker
unknown
Inscriptions
Note on index card: "Hawaiian Necklace - Palaoa, 191 strands (underlined)/ 'Niho Palaoa' or a necklace of human hair/ These ''palaoas'' carved whale ivory and/ mounted as this one on a necklace of/ braided human hair of many strands/ were a sort of insignia of the cheifs and/ always worn. Ones as large as this are/ very rare and rarely found perfect as/ they break easily if dropped./ Brought from Honolulu before 1830./ From the Reynolds collection 1917." (Two notes, one on brown paper wrapping, black ink, one on wihite lined index card.)
Note on brown paper: "HAWAIIAN/ NIHOA PALOA/ or Necklace/ Very Rare/ SW Phillips" (handwritten)
Location of origin
Pacific Island Group
Associated Building
Original to Phillips House (Salem, Mass.).
Material
human hair
ivory (tooth component)
tusk
Object type
Adornment
Places
Hawaii (United States)
Descriptive terms
human hair
Necklace
necklaces
Possibly ivory (tooth component)
Possibly tusk
Dimensions
8 1/8 x 1 7/8 (HxW) (inches)
Accession Number
2006.44.420
Credit Line
Gift of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation
GUSN
102953
Reference Notes
Volume 9, No. 1
Related Items
Title Pendant Accession number 2006.44.1454

Comments