Kahili Handle, Hawaiian Islands
Wood, shell, bone
length 27in (68.6cm)
Anthony Slater-Ralph Collection
Private Collection, Hawaii
On kahili handles, Buck (1957: p. 579) notes "Several feathers were tied together with olona fiber to form bunches which, in turn, were tied to a coconut-leaf midrib. The poles were usually made out of a kauila wood spear, but more elaborate ones were made by stringing disks of tortoise shell, bone, or ivory on a slender core of kauila wood or whalebone. Leg bones were usually used to fashion these disks and it was considered an honor to have one's bones used on a kahili handle, in contrast to the insult when the bones were used as fishhooks or to inlay spittoons."