| Headdress [wutulai]

Luang Island
south Moluccas, Indonesia

Headdress [wutulai] 19th century or earlier
30.5 (h) x 20.3 (w) x 4.5 (d) cm
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii
Gift of the Christensen Fund, 2001 (10624.1)


On the island of Luang, gold is worn at ceremonies as a marker of wealth, prestige and power. Noble families control treasuries of splendid jewellery, plates, discs, headdresses and crowns. According to mythology, the gold heirlooms were acquired from the upper and lower realms by the founding ancestors, an association which enhances the status of both object and wearer. This mask-like crown, with features detailed in raised plaiting, is particularly spectacular, befitting an owner of high status.

Subscribe to newsletter

You can also follow developments on twitter or facebook