A Fine Feather Lei Hulu of Hawaii composed of red and yellow bird feathers in the 'Pani ' O' style

A Fine Feather Lei Hulu of Hawaii composed of red and yellow bird feathers in the 'Pani ' O' style

1800 to 1900 hawaii

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A Fine Feather Lei Hulu of Hawaii composed of red and yellow bird feathers in the ‘Pani ‘ O’ style
Circa 1870 – 1880

Size : 58.5 cm long – 23 ins long
Lei Hulu were designed and made to be used by women . They were worn twisted in the hair on the top of the women's heads as can be seen in the famous drawing by John Webber , artist on Captain Cook's third voyage . Larger Lei were also worn around the neck to great effect . As shown by Webber in his drawing of a Hawaiian warrior , Lei were sometimes worn rolled down above the eyes by men to keep their feather helmets in place . Lei were treasured ancestral possessions handed down through generations . They were often collected by women in large numbers who would occasionally hang them up to air and stroke them with their hands ; the body oils keeping the feathers supple and the colours bright .
A great deal of featherwork was collected during Captain Cook's visits of 1778 and 1779 . The Chiefs brought helmets , capes , cloaks and necklaces to use in bartering for metal daggers and axes which were much admired by the Hawaiians . Captain Cook and his men in turn were in a state of wonderment over the extraordinary beauty of the Hawaiian feather objects .
The feathers were taken from birds found in the mountains and along the sharp cliffs and beaches of the Hawaiian Islands . Most of these birds were unique to the lush Hawaiian rainforest . Captain Clerke , a naturalist on the Endeavour , observed 'the birds of these islands are as beautiful as any we have seen during the voyage ; and are numerous though not various … one of which is something larger than a bullfinch ; it's colour is a fine glossy black , the rump , vent and thighs deep yellow ; another is of exceeding bright scarlet colour , …' These birds were known as the 'mamo' which produced darkish yellow feathers and the 'i 'iwi' which provided the main source of red feathers . The Hawaiian honeycreeper called 'mamo' has not been seen on the Big Island , it's only home since 1898 .
Medium
Feather Lei Hulu red and yellow bird feathers
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