prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum

1886.1.1637 .5

PRM0001335785179Apron from a mourner′s costume, ahow-iboo, of barkcloth and coconut shell, from the Society Islands; part of the Forster collection (Forster 3; 1886.1.1637.5)

A poncho, made from a base of pandanus matting covered in barkcloth, except on the back of the poncho beyond the neck hole where there are only several layers of barkcloth. The matting at the edge of the neck is turned under and sewn down with thread, which is of different thickness on each side. The top and bottom of the neck hole are not finished. The barkcloth covering is not sewn to the matting around the neck. The bottom and both sides of the matting are folded under. On the proper RHS the edge of the mat is finished. The hem on this side is folded towards the front of the apron and is held in place with large stitches of coconut fibre braid. On the proper LHS the edge of the mat is unfinished. The hem is folded towards the back of the apron and held in place with large stitches of barkcloth twine. The edge of the mat is finished at the base of the front of the apron. There is no hem. The mat is covered with several layers of barkcloth. The front section, from the bottom to just above the coconut shell discs is covered with a single layer of white barkcloth. The rest of the poncho is covered in a much thicker white barkcloth with many distinct layers, which appear to have been lightly beaten together. The barkcloth is soft and supple. A very fine layer of brown barkcloth is attached at the shoulder line and goes on to cover the back. The fibres of this cloth are very beaten out. The bottom layer of barkcloth is thin, soft, and light brown in colour. The barkcloth is cut at the neck slit; no edges are finished. 134 coconut shell pieces are sewn to the front of the poncho. They are attached in 8 vertical rows of, from the proper RHS, 17, 17, 15, 16, 17, 17, 17, 18. They are attached with a thread made from loosely twisted barkcloth strips in vertical rows. The thread emerges from the top hole in one of the pieces, passes through the apron, emerges again having made a short horizontal stitch on the back, is passed under the top thread and enters the bottom hole of the coconut disc above. (6 coconut shell discs are replacements added before the 1970 exhibition 'From the Islands of the South Seas 1773–4'.)


  PRM0001301985179Apron - outside front and back
PRM0001301995179Apron - inside front and back
PRM0001302005179Ashmolean labels
PRM0001357785179Composite image of mourner’s costume