Collections

Tiputa (poncho), mid 9th century (detail)

Currently not on view.

The Hawaiian concept of exquisite perfection is hana no'eau. Hana is activity, and no'eau means clever, skillful, wise and dexterous. The philosophy of creating every object to the highest mark, whether a tortoise shell fishhook or a carved ivory neck ornament, extends to the entire collection of Oceanic art.

Internationally recognized, the collection originated with the first works donated to the museum in 1799. More than 20,000 objects (from more than 36 island groups in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia) incorporate available resources, including porpoise teeth, bark, jade, obsidian, abalone, human hair and natural fiber. Works by contemporary artists employ glass and synthetic stone. As a whole, the collection reflects profound periods of change. Objects reveal diverse materials gained in trade, new ideas from non-Native cultural influences, and evolved technology that produced metal tools.

 

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Images

Kali (neckrest), early 19th century

Kali (neckrest), early 19th century

Artist not identified
Tonga
Wood
L: 40.00 cm, W: 8.00 cm, H: 15.30 cm

Gift of C. Millett, 1832

Accession Number: E3203
Nguru (flute), early 19th century

Nguru (flute), early 19th century

Artist not identified
New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Wood, paua shell (Abalone haliotis)

Gift of Captain William Richardson, 1807

Accession Number: E5520
Papahou (box), early 19th century

Papahou (box), early 19th century

ar
New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Totara wood. paua shell (Abalone haliotis), stain, human tooth

Gift of Captain William Rickardson

Accession Number: E5505
Pe'ahi (fan), early 19th century

Pe'ahi (fan), early 19th century

Artist not identified
Hawai'i
Niu (coconut) midribs and leaflets, dyed fiber, human hair
Accession Number: E5354
Tiputa (poncho), mid 9th century

Tiputa (poncho), mid 9th century

Artist not identified
Niue
Tapa (processed inner tree bark), pigments

Museum Purchase, 1911

Accession Number: E146093213
Leiomano (weapon), early 19th century

Leiomano (weapon), early 19th century

Artist not identified
Hawai'i
Wood, great white shark teeth, shell (Abalone haliotis), copper pegs

Gift of Mrs. Stephen H. Phillips and Stephen W. Phillips, 1925. 

Accession Number: E19679
Lei niho palaoa (neck ornament), early 19th century

Lei niho palaoa (neck ornament), early 19th century

Artist not identified
Hawai'i
Human hair, sperm whale tooth, olona fiber

Gift of Mrs. Stephen H. Phillips and Stephen W. Phillips, 1925.

Accession Number: E196741
Bure kalou (spirit house), early 19th century

Bure kalou (spirit house), early 19th century

ar
Fiji
Coconut fiber, wood, shell

Gift of Joseph Winn Jr., 1835

Accession Number: E5037
Ibuburau ni bete (priest's dish), 19th century

Ibuburau ni bete (priest's dish), 19th century

Artist not identified
Fiji (Viti)
Wood

Gift of Charles Goddard Weld, 1908

Accession Number: E10441
Fan, early 19th century

Fan, early 19th century

Artist not identified
SAMOA
Pandanus, coconut leaflets, coconut fiber

Gift of Clifford Crowninshield and Matthew Folger, 1802

Accession Number: E5356
Wahaika (short club), early 19th century

Wahaika (short club), early 19th century

Artist not identified
New Zealand, Maor
Wood, paua shell (Abalone haliotis), fiber
L: 41.40 cm, W: 17.30 cm

Donor not recorded. Received before 1878

Accession Number: E5539
Kuka’ilimoku, (temple image), early 19th century

Kuka’ilimoku, (temple image), early 19th century

Artist not identified
HAWAIIAN IS.
Ulu or Breadfruit wood (Artocarpus incisus)

Gift of John T. Prince, 1846

Accession Number: E12071
Moai Kava Kava, 2001

Moai Kava Kava, 2001

Almalene Ku’uipo Gray-Parker (b. 1955)
Hawai’i
Dyed coconut, raffia, and hau twine; bone; human hair; granite.
Accession Number: E301981

Kaua - We, the two of us, 2000

Kaua - We, the two of us, 2000

Bernice Akamine
glass, gold, silver leaf, sand from Okinawa and Annatto seeds
Accession Number: E301984
Kupe'e hoaka (bracelet), late 18th century

Kupe'e hoaka (bracelet), late 18th century

Artist not identified
Hawai'i
Wild boar tusks, fiber

Gift of the Nathaniel Silsbee, 1800

Accession Number: E5299
Patu onewa (stone club), early 19th century

Patu onewa (stone club), early 19th century

Artist not identified
New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Basalt

Gift of William Putnam Richardson, 1812

Accession Number: E5536
Makau (fish hook), early-mid 19th century

Makau (fish hook), early-mid 19th century

Artist not identified
Hawai'i
Tortoise shell

Gift of Mrs. Stephen H. Phillips and Stephen W. Phillips, 1925.

Accession Number: E19689
Peue ei (women's head ornament), mid-late 19th century

Peue ei (women's head ornament), mid-late 19th century

Artist not identified
Marquesas Islands
Coconut fiber, porpoise teeth, beads

Gift of F. Walter Bergmann, 1958.  Collected by F. Walter Bergmann

Accession Number: E35650
Poi Pounder, 19th century

Poi Pounder, 19th century

Artist not identified
Tahiti, Society Islands
Basalt

Gift of Walter F. Bergmann

Accession Number: E35765
Tapa, early-mid 19th century

Tapa, early-mid 19th century

Artist not identified
Austral Islands
Tapa (processed inner tree bark), pigments

Received before 1867

Accession Number: E3172
Uhikana (headdress), early 19th century

Uhikana (headdress), early 19th century

Artist not identified
Marquesas Islands
Coconut fiber, mother-of-pearl, tortoise shell, tapa

Gift of Captain William Richardson, 1807

Accession Number: E5096
Carved Arm, 19th century

Carved Arm, 19th century

Artist not identified
Marquesas Islands
Wood

Museum Purchase

Accession Number: E16063
'U'u (club), early 19th century

'U'u (club), early 19th century

Artist not identified
Marquesas Islands
Toa (Ironwood)

Gift of John Fitzpatrick Jeffrie of Great Brittain, 1803.

Accession Number: E5027
Hei-tiki (pendant), early 19th century

Hei-tiki (pendant), early 19th century

Artist not identified
New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Pounamu (nephrite jade), paua shell (abalone haliotis), sealing wax

Gift of Captain William Richardson, 1807

Accession Number: E5522
Ipu ehi (food container), 19th century

Ipu ehi (food container), 19th century

Artist not identified
Marquesas Islands
Wood, coconut shell, human bone, coconut fiber, koku'u (Sapindus) seeds

Gift of Israel Williams, 1802.

Accession Number: E22556
Pare (door lintel), early 19th century

Pare (door lintel), early 19th century

Artist not identified
North Island, New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Kauri wood (Agathis australis)

Gift of Captain William Richardson, 1807.

Accession Number: E5501
Drum

Drum

Artist not identified
Hawai'i
Coconut, shark skin, puniu, hula
Accession Number: E2940
Tattoo Tool, 1802

Tattoo Tool, 1802

Artist not identified
Tahiti
Wood, bone, plant fiber
Accession Number: E5295
Headdress

Headdress

Artist not identified
Marquesas Islands
Accession Number: E17750
Dance Wand

Dance Wand

Artist not identified
Melanesia, Bismark, New Ireland
50x20x5 cm.
Accession Number: E19481
Flute

Flute

Artist not identified
Hawaiian Is.
Hollowed gourd
Accession Number: E19721
Ceremonial Adze

Ceremonial Adze

Artist not identified
New Caledonia
Stone, Plant fibers,sea shells, wood
Accession Number: E21850
Carved Wood Pipe

Carved Wood Pipe

Patoromu Tamatea
Maori, New Zealand
Carved wood, mother-of-pearl
L: 10.50 cm
Accession Number: E23544
Female Figure

Female Figure

Artist not identified
Trobriand Islands, New Guinea
Carved wood
Accession Number: E24629
Whale Tooth

Whale Tooth

Artist not identified
Fiji
Whale tooth, rope
Accession Number: E33794

 Tooth of a whale with "SI VAKI" carved into side.

Sheilds

Sheilds

Asmat, New Guinea
carved wood and pigment ornamentation
Accession Number: 0257, E43354, E43351

Sheilds from left to right: Djakapis Village, Tjemor Village, Brazza River.