essay

Hawaiian art and society: traditions and transformations

transformations of polynesian culture (45) • Published In 1985 • Pages: 105-131

By: Kaeppler, Adrienne Lois.

Abstract
Kaeppler examines changes in design of feathered cloaks ('AHU'ULA) worn by people of high rank and relates it to changing social relations in Hawaiian society. She identifies two transitional periods, at either end of Kamehameha I's reign. Cloaks were a symbol of genealogical prestige and conferred sacred protection during ceremonies and in battle, where their high collars did afford some real protection. The introduction of firearms made the cloaks obsolete as armor, however they continued to serve a ceremonial function. As chiefs became more powerful the tributary supply of feathers became more plentiful, resulting in chiefs giving away extra cloaks to lesser chiefs for status verification. The sacred color of red lost its preeminent symbolic status to yellow, a color of real political power, because yellow feathers were most rare and more difficult to obtain. Kaeppler also discusses the changes in ritual paraphernalia associated with the change in the principal god from Lono, the god of fertility, to Kuka'ilimoku, the god of war.
Subjects
Animal by-products
Special garments
Visual arts
culture
Hawaiians
HRAF PubDate
2003
Region
Oceania
Sub Region
Polynesia
Document Type
essay
Evaluation
Creator Type
Ethnologist
Document Rating
4: Excellent Secondary Data
5: Excellent Primary Data
Analyst
Ian Skoggard ; 2002
Coverage Date
1778-1823
Coverage Place
Hawai'i, United States
Notes
Adrienne L. Kaeppler
Includes bibliographical references (p. 130-131)
LCSH
Hawaiians