Keeaumoku’s ahuula, Eheukani, 1903.

FEATHER GARMENTS

106. A cloak said to have been destroyed in the conflagration caused accidentally in the attempt of the Board of Health to stamp out the bubonic plague in the Chinese quarter of Honolulu. At the time when the claims for losses caused by this great fire were presented to the Commission appointed for the purpose, my assistant, Mr. Allen M. Walcott, obtained from the claimant, Peleioholani, a carpenter by trade, the following particulars: The cloak was called “Eheukani” and was made in the time of Keeaumoku (the father of Kaahumanu) and finished shortly before the battle of Mokuohai (July, 1782) between Kamehameha and Kiwalaó. Keeaumoku’s wife gave it to Peleioholani’s grandmother. Principally mamo* feathers with a small crescent of red iiwi in each upper corner; between the shoulders a round spot of black oo feathers, from which a line of red iiwi led down to a trifle below the middle of the cloak. The cords at the neck were of human hair, an unusual thing. It must be remembered that the design (Fig. 16) as well as the following measurements are from the description given to Mr. Walcott by Peleioholani and are of course only approximate. They are worth recording as differing from any robes described. Length, about 4 feet 9 inches; neck measurment about 2 feet; circumference at bottom about 5 feet 8 inches. It is a matter of tradition that 27,000 birds were captured to furnish the feathers for this cloak. In the left side were seven spear holes that were never patched, and about which were blood stains. Keeaumoku was severely wounded in this battle, and it was rather a fancy with the old chiefs to retain the honorable scars in the ahuula, as in the cloak given by Kamehameha to Vancouver to be taken to England for King George.

*Probably oo, for a genuine mamo ahuula was devoid of any adulteration by other colored feathers. It should be stated that Peleioholani’s claim to be the owner of this cloak was disputed and it was said to have been taken from the palace years ago; but from what I have seen of the observation of natives whose duty it was to care for the royal robes, I do not believe one of them could describe the pattern of the cloaks he or she had seen for years.

[And a note on the note by Brigham. I am not sure the oo instead of mamo feathers comment should be considered true when even the great mamo feather ahuula of Kamehameha Paiea has red iiwi feathers within it…]

(Brigham, William T. Additional Notes on Hawaiian Featherwork. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. pp. 15–16.)

"Eheukani"

Brigham, William T. Additional Notes on Hawaiian Featherwork. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. p. 17.

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