Adornment

Hawaiians appreciated many forms of personal adornment, including lei (wreaths of short-lived flowers and foliage, and more permanent materials such as feathers, seeds, shells, and bone), bracelets/anklets (kupe`e), and body tattoo (kakau). Carved adornments might take animal forms such as turtles (honu) or more abstract and symbolic forms. More than simple adornment, such items might impart mana (spiritual power) conferring protection, healing, or other desirable attributes to the individual.


thumb Ki`i wana - (images) carved from the spines of the slate pencil urchin, are a uniquely Hawaiian art form, associated with the island of Kaho`olawe. There are only a handful of the original ancient ki`i wana known, and of these, only one shows detailed features. It was found on a fishing shrine, and is thought to represent a fishing god, Ku`ula. Inspired by the details of the traditional carving, `Ohu expresses images representing not only Ku`ula, but other deities of the Hawaiian pantheon. Each is conceived, created, and named, in the Hawaiian tradition of creations treated as individuals with life and consciousness.

Material: Sea urchin spines
Size: Varies


thumb Lei papale -

Material: Natural blue or gold peacock feathers
Size: Approximately 24 X 1.5 inches


thumb Lei po`o/lei `a`i - (wreath) for the head or neck

Material: Dyed duck or goose feathers
Size: Approximately 23 inches


thumb Lei pupu - of different shells were used for personal adornment.

Material: Natica lineata shells
Size: Lei is approximately 23.5 inches, shells approximately 1.25 x 7/8 inches


thumb Leiomano - (necklaces of shark teeth) were worn as ornaments. Shark teeth were often worked into weapons or cutting tools.

Material: 1 1/8 inch tiger shark teeth on 8-strand braided waxed linen
Size: 18 inches long


Kupe`e - show a great deal of variation in color and pattern. Rare forms were reserved for ornaments of ali`i. The kupe`e were used symbolically for protection from harm or to conceal the wearer from troubles.

Material: Nerite shell with 4- or 8-ply braid
Size: Varies


thumb Ivory ring -

Material: Different types of ivory; can be inlaid with mollusk shell
Size: Made to order


thumb Lei wana -

Material: sea urchin spines and shells
Size: Lei is approximately 23 inches; spines approximately 1.75-2.5 inches


thumb Lei wana -

Material: sea urchin spines and bone beads
Size: Lei is approximately 21 inches; spines approximately 3 inches


thumb Lei iwi kuamo`o mano -

Material: shark vertebrae and bone beads
Size: Lei is approximately 19.5 inches; shells approximately 7/8 inch


thumb Lei iwi kuamo`o mano -

Material: shark vertebrae and bone beads
Size: Lei is approximately 19 inches; vertebrae approximately 7/8 inch


thumb Lei pupu - Shell lei of different shells were used for personal adornment.

Material: Neritina sp. (red)
Size: Lei is approximately 21.5 inches; shells approximately 5/8 inch


thumb Lei pupu - Shell lei of different shells were used for personal adornment.

Material: Neritina sp.
Size: Lei is approximately 21 inches; shells approximately 5/8 inch


thumb Lei pupu - Shell lei of different shells were used for personal adornment.

Material: Neritina peloranta
Size: Lei is approximately 25.5 inches; shells approximately .75 inches


thumb Lei pupu - Shell lei of different shells were used for personal adornment.

Material: Neritina exuvia
Size: Lei is approximately 26 inches; shells approximately 1 inch


thumb Lei pupu - Shell lei of different shells were used for personal adornment.

Material: Conus sp. Shells and coconut beads
Size: Lei is approximately 23.5 inches; shells approximately 1.25-1.5 inches


thumb Lei niho `ilio -

Material: canine teeth and bone beads
Size: Lei is approximately 18.75 inches; teeth approximately 1.25-1.5 inches


thumb Lei niho `ilio -

Material: canine teeth
Size: Lei is approximately 21 inches; teeth approximately 1.25-1.5 inches


thumb Lei niho `ilio - This two-rank lei niho `ilio uses lacing methods from the much larger kupe`e niho `ilio to render an elegant and masculine lei `a`i (neck lei). The `ilio is a kinolau (physical manifestation) of the major god Ku, god of warfare, aggression, and governance, so the lei niho `ilio is a symbol of strength and leadership.

Material: canine teeth