21 April 2014

"Made from the long bones of an enemy king"

It's a kāhili- the Hawaiian royal standard.  The long bone is decorated with feathers from birds of prey.  The one in the painting (and the ones in this photograph) appear to be too gracile to be an entire femur or humerus; perhaps they are carved to their final form.


  1. "The Kahili was made from a wooden pole, usually of kauila wood. It was then decorated with rings of ivory and turtle shell slipped onto the pole to create alternating black and white stripes. In some instances the bones of the famous Alii slain in battle were used in place of ivory rings on the pole. The flexibility of the small kahilis results from a thinner pole and the smaller rings of turtle shell, ivory or bone.


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