prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum


PRM000012718Breast ornament, taumi, of cane, coconut fibre, bark cloth, feathers, dog hair, human hair (?), and shark teeth, from the Society Islands (probably Tahiti); part of the Banks collection (1886.1.392).

Crescent-shaped breast ornament made from a frame of plant material (possibly the aerial root of the ie'ie vine (Freycinetia sp.) tied together with plant fibre cord. The frame supports plaited bands of coconut fibre, which are tied to it at regular intervals. A separate, shorter, strip of plaited coconut fibre is tied to the top; the plaiting extends to form ties, the coconut fibre being replaced with strips of barkcloth. The front is decorated with rows of sharks teeth, probably from the Oceanic White-tip shark (Carcharinus longimanus). The teeth have been drilled, usually twice, and then bound to lengths of plant material, which have been tied to the underlying structure. Feathers tied in bundles of 5 or 6 have been attached to the frame so they fill in the gaps between the rows of teeth. Shaped pieces of pearlshell have been attached to 'frames' at each tip. The frames are made from ie'ie vine and fringed with feathers, and the shell has been drilled in two or three places and tied into place. There is a fringe of dog hair around the outer and top edges. The hair is bound into hair holders: strips of plant material wound tightly with coconut fibre, trapping a bundle of hair. The hair holders have a loop at the far end. There are 93 hair holders present


PRM0001296795179Gorget (with scale)
PRM0001296815179Reverse (with scale)
PRM0001296835179Detail of hair carriers
PRM0001304625179Detail of sharks teeth