University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Forehead Ornament [Object of the Day #111]


November 19, 2012

Forehead Ornament
Forehead Ornament

Chief’s forehead ornament from the Marquesas Islands, consisting of a headband of woven coconut fiber, with a large disk of pearl shell overlaid with a carved sheet of sea turtle shell.  The openwork carving includes six human faces and, at the top, two curved elements resembling the points of the large ceremonial fishhooks used to suspend sacrificial victims in temple areas. Ornaments with this pattern of six radiating human figures or faces, known as a tiki star, were made in the second half of the 19th century. This particular ornament was collected in the Marquesas in 1888 by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Penn Museum Object #P3282
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