Mahiole feathered helmet
Hawaiian Islands, 19th century, made of basketry and feathers, 71 x 20 x 59 cm, formerly in the collections of Le Goaran de Tromelin, musée de marine du Louvre, 71.1909.19.1OcD © musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, photo by Patrick Gries and Bruno Descoings
This helmet is composed of a woven frame, covered by a net made of fibers to which are attached feathers of the red and yellow passerine birds. It was worn by prestigious chiefs and warriors, accompanied by a feather cape, the whole serving as a symbolic protection during important ceremonies. The presence of feathers makes it possible to link the chiefs to the gods, the bodies of which, in Hawaiian mythology, were covered with feathers. This helmet also served as an exchange good of great value, especially with European travelers as early as the 18th century.