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Breast ornament (gorget) taumi

Breast ornament (gorget) taumi

Place: Tahiti & Society Islands
Category: Jewellery & adornment

cane, coconut fibre, dog hair, shark teeth, feathers, Tahiti and the Society Islands, w. 51 cm, h. 33 cm, Hanover 1850, No. 1

Inv. Hanover 1850 (?; see p. 80f), No.1 ‘Donation by personal physician Spangenberg’s wife’

Forster Register C.I: ‘3 large gorgets and a smaller one from Otaheiti’ (cf. Oz 426)

The gorget is made of the same basic material as Oz 426. Both feature a completely intact base consisting of latticework and a 15 cm wide coconut fibre weave as well as a neckband. The Hanover specimen, however, features a number of more or less ornamental elements. Numerous small sticks are radially attached to the latticework at the outer edge and at the two upper edges of the gorget. The remains of light-grey dog’s hair tufts protrude from their tight binding of coconut fibres.The fabrication of these hair tufts corresponds to that of the objects Oz 432 and Oz 433, and originally formed the outer fringe ornament (cf. Oz 431). The front of the coconut fibre weave has four virtually complete rows of shark’s teeth arranged parallel to each other at intervals of c. 3 cm. They are firmly secured to the coconut fibre weave at their perforations. There are four strips incompletely filled with feathers between the rows of teeth up to the outer edge. Some of these feathers, cut back to a length of 3 cm, have been lost, so that only the quills with their binding to the coconut fibre weave are still visible. According to Parkinson (1773: 53, 70), the blackish-green and blackish-blue iridescent feathers are from the ‘green pigeon’, eroòppe. Gundolf Krüger


Parkinson, Sydney, A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas in his Majesty’s Ship, the Endeavour, London, 1773.

Related artefacts

Breast ornament (gorget) taumi, Inv. Oz 426
Breast ornament (gorget) taumi, Inv. Oz 431
Tassels of hair, Inv. Oz 432
Tassels of hair, Inv. Oz 433


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