Skip to content
  • 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission
  • Shop

We are no longer updating this page and it is not optimised for mobile devices.

You are in site section: Explore



Place: Hawaii
Category: Tools

plant fibre, Hawaii, d. 0.3 cm, Inv. Oz 230

Humphrey No.135: ‘white Cordage from Sandwich Isles.’ (= Oz 230)

Humphrey No.172: ‘Strong four sided plaited Cordage, formed of a kind of flax from Sandwich Isles.’ (= Oz 509)

Both cordages are of a beige-brown colour, made from plant materials and twisted. The cordage Oz 509 is rolled up to form an oval ring.

Unfortunately, the plant materials with which the cordages are made cannot be identified unambiguously. They are possibly made of the olona or the hopue, the bark of both plants used for making cordage, fishing nets and other items (Malo 1951: 22). Regarding olona, Brigham (1899: 50) stated: ‘Olona is so universally the basis of Hawaiian feather cloaks, that feathers mounted on any other substance would be at once classed as foreign to the group. This fibre comes from Touchardia latifolia ... The stripped bark is soaked and then scraped on a long, narrow board ... with a scraper... The fibre is easily scraped out, and the spinner then twists it on the thigh using no spindle.’ However, there are various other materials which must be taken into consideration (for special material and use see Malo 1951:78). Inken Köhler


Brigham, William T, Hawaiian Feather Work, Memoirs of the Bernice P Bishop Museum, Honolulu, 1899, vol. 1, no. 1.

Malo, David, Hawaiian Antiquities (Mo’ olelo Hawai’ i), Nathaniel B Emerson (trans.), Bishop Museum Special Publication 2, Honolulu, [1839] 1951.

Related artefacts

Cord, Inv. Oz 509


Return to Top