A royal feather necklace, lei hulu, Hawaiian Islands
length 21 1/2in
A classic, full-bodied royal necklace, lei hulu with interspersed bands of yellow and green feathers in a spiral pattern, tied on indigenous cordage base with black ribbon covering.
Feather leis were reserved for the exclusive use of the nobility, with the mere possession of feathers by commoners strictly forbidden. The feathers utilized in the construction of these royal ornaments were obtained by po'e kahai manu (specially-trained hereditary bird catchers) from indigenous honeycreepers; typically, in order of rarity and value, from the mamo (orange), o'o (yellow), i'iwi or apapane (red) and ou (green).
Prendergast Ali'i Family, Hawaii
Temporary Loan, Kauai Museum, 1988-2003
For a discussion of feather necklaces, including the construction, types and history of, see Buck, pages 538-541.