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Comb heru

Comb heru

Place: New Zealand
Category: Combs

wood, paua shell, New Zealand, l. 10.1 cm, w. 6.2 cm, Inv. Oz 292

Humphrey No. 185: ‘a Comb made of Wood, singularly carved, and ornamented with a piece of the iris earshell. New Zealand.’

Comb made of dark brown wood, embellished with a greenish opalescent piece of shell. The Maori wore their hair very long in Cook’s time, bound into a knot. They stuck feathers in the hair knots; highly favoured were the black tail feathers of the (now extinct) huia bird. Combs were also used as ornaments in the hair. The combs were made out of wood - the prongs held together with flax - or out of whale bone, with embellishments on one side. Such combs are held in the collections in Vienna (Moschner 1955: 216), Florence (Giglioli 1893: 186, PI. 3, Fig. 3, 5), Stockholm (Söderström 1939: 57, PI.18, Fig.1) and Cambridge (Shawcross 1970: 331-33). Markus Schindlbeck


Giglioli, Enrico H, Appunti intorno ad una collezione etnografica fatta durante it terzo viaggio di Cook, Florence, 1893.

Moschner, Irmgard, ‘Die Wiener Cook-Sammlung, Südsee-Teil’, Archiv für Völkerkunde, Vienna and Stuttgart, 1955, vol. 10, pp. 136-253.

Shawcross, Wilfred, ‘The Cambridge University collection of Maori artifacts, made on Captain Cook’s “first voyage”’, Journal of the Polynesian Society, 1970, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 305-348.

Söderström, Jan, A. Sparrman’s Ethnographical Collection from James Cook’s 2nd Expedition (1772-75), New Series, Publication no. 6, The Ethnographical Museum of Sweden, Stockholm, 1939.

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