jewellery and ornaments

In all cultures, man has practiced the art of jewellery, thereby combining appearance and ceremony.

The attention given to the preparation of objects, the taste for precious materials and the refinement of the motifs bear witness to a fascination with appearances as an indicator of a specific status and a certain opulence.

Generally, this jewellery is emblematic of a form of social authority. But it can also play a role as a protector against adversity depending on the materials used in its making and the accompanying symbols. It is most often a bearer of vital energy.


  • War Charm

  • Woman's Headdress

  • Chieftain's Helmet

  • Male Ear Ornament

  • Pendant

  • Forehead Ornament

  • Men's Chignon Comb

  • Pendant

  • Element of Woman's Headdress: Part That Covers

  • Pendant Worn On the Back

  • Face Veil

  • Anthropomorphic Appliqué Jewelry

  • Necklace

  • Pendant

  • Bird Necklace

  • Hairpin

  • Frontal Headdress (known as "hat of the clan")

  • Large Dance Headdress

  • Feather Headdress

  • Male Figurine

  • Bark Apron

Chieftain's Helmet

Chieftain's Helmet

Hawaii (state), United States, North America, American, Beginning of the 19th Century, weaved basketwork, probably the adventitious roots of a bush from the pandanus family (Freycinetia arborea). red feathers (drepanis coccinea) and yellow feathers (moho nobilis), 71.1909.19.1 Oc

Plumed helmet worn by the great chieftains. This type of helmet, just like the plumed capes and cloaks, was only to be used by chieftains. It was worn on important occasions. The presence of feathers allows the chieftains to establish an intimate relationship with the gods. According to Polynesian belief, the head, and especially that of a chief, is the most sacred part of the body. The protection afforded by this helmet, at the time of combat, was spiritual in nature.