Cord

Description
Acquired by 1st Lieutenant Francis Godolphin Bond on the HMS Providence, which arrived in Matavai Bay, Tahiti, on 9 April 1792. Bond donated this costume to the Devon and Exeter Institution in 1815, of which he was a proprietor. This gift was recorded in the D&EI committee meeting minutes. The Devon & Exeter Institution presented this costume to the Albert Memorial Museum in 1872.

A Tahitian chief possessed great social status but also charged with great spiritual power called mana. Upon the death of a chief their body was treated accordingly and mounted on biers shrouded in fine white barkcloth. Relatives would gather around the bier and mourn.

A senior relative would appear in a mourner’s costume (heva tupapa’u) to lead a spectacular procession, accompanied by family members with their skins blackened with soot. Pearl-shell clappers would warn people as the procession approached to withdraw or conceal themselves. Otherwise they could face being attacked or injured with a sword edged with shark teeth.
Accession Loan No.
E1780a
Collection Class
Clothing and accessories
Common Name
cord
Simple Name
cord
Full Name
cord (costume of the chief mourner - heva tupapa’u)
Dimensions
whole length 3640 mm
Production Year High
1792
Production Town
Tahiti
Production County
Tahiti, Society Islands
Production Country
French Polynesia (Overseas Collectivity of France)
Production Area Region
Polynesia
Production Continent
Oceania
Family Group

Material
? silk grass
Collection Area Region
POLYN
Collection Continent
Pacific
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