prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum

1886.1.1637 .4

PRM0001335775179Cloak from a mourner′s costume, ahow-roope, of feathers and plant fibres, from the Society Islands; part of the Forster collection (Forster 4; 1886.1.1637.4)

Lengths of coconut fibre cord are connected by feather bundles, creating a ladder-like structure. A folded quill or piece of plant stem is bent in half and bound with plant material. This creates the ‘rung’ of the ladder-like structure. To this are bound feathers, making up a feather bundle. The feathers have been split down the middle of the rachis, making each section twist. The cloak was made by making a long length of this ‘ladder’ structure, and looping it over a thick vegetable fibre cord at the neck end. Usually 6 lengths make 1 section. The individual ladders are tied together with lengths of barkcloth ‘string’ and coconut fibre. More rigid horizontal ties made from pandanus(?) leaf are woven through the structure on the reverse, sometimes strengthened with Freyncetia (Climbing screwpalm, Pandanaceae) aerial rootlets. Sometimes these rootlets are bound with cord and not associated with the leaf fibre. The cloak is constructed so that there is a single section of 6 ‘ladders’ left free on each side. Some contemporary images of the costume show the wearer with feather covered arms, and one image. The ‘ladders’ are bound together at the base of the feather bundles, thus meaning that in the cloak, the individual ‘ladders’ are effectively on edge, with all the feather bundles pointing out of the surface of the cloak


  PRM0001301945179Conservation image - reverse of cloak
PRM0001357785179Composite image of mourner’s costume