HAWAIIAN FEATHER CAPES & CLOAKS

By Koa Kahili

T he ancient Polynesian navigators who colonized Hawaii over a thousand years ago brought with them the tradition of feather work, haku hulu . Haku hulu was practiced thorough out Polynesia but in the isolation of Hawaii, feather work flourished and is said to have reached its zenith, with cloaks being regarded as the most valued possessions in ancient Hawaii. Feathered cloaks and capes are known as 'ahu'ula , translating to, red shoulder and back covering. Hawaiian feather cloaks and capes are direct symbols of mana , representing the prestige and power of Hawaii's greatest Ali'i , yet they were much more than the visual objectification's of social inequality worn by male chiefs. They are intricate and precious manifestations of Hawaiian cultural traditions, vividly illustrating genealogical relationships and social stratification in a breathtaking display of colors. In this paper I will attempt to interpret the inherent significance of feather capes and cloaks taking in to account the traditional and modernist sensibilities for abstract shapes as pure aesthetic expression as well as their value, function, and manifestations in traditional Hawaiian culture.

When Captain Cook first anchored off Waimea, Kauai, in 1778, Hawaiian society has reached its apex in population and social complexity.

Amongst the articles which they brought to barter this day (Jan. 21,. 1778) we could not help taking notice of a particular sort of cloak and cap, which, even in countries where dress is more particularly attended to, might be reckoned elegant. The first are nearly the size and shape of the short cloaks worn by the women in England, and by the men of Spain, reaching to the middle of the back and tied loosely before. The ground of them is a net-work, upon which the most beautiful red and yellow feathers are so closely fixed, that the surface might be compared to the thickest and richest velvet, which they resemble, both as to feel and glossy appearance.

The manner of varying the mixture is very different, some having triangular spaces of red and yellow alternately; others a kind of crescent, and some that were entirely red, had a yellow border which made them appear, at some distance, exactly like a scarlet cloak edged with gold lace. The brilliant colors of the feathers, in those that happened to be new, added not a little to their fine appearance, and we found that they were in high esteem with their owners, for they would not, at first part with one of them for anything we offered, asking no less then a price than a musket. However, some were afterward purchased for very large nails. Some of them as were of the best, were scarce, and it would seem that they are only used on the occasion of some particular ceremony of diversion, for the people who had them always make some gesticulations which we had seen used before by those who sung.

They have another (dress) appropriated to their chiefs, and used on ceremonious occasions consisting of a feathered cloak and helmet, which in point of beauty and magnificence, is perhaps nearly equal to that of any nation in the world...these cloaks are made of different length in proportion to the rank of the weaver, some of them reaching no lower than the middle, others trailing on the ground. The inferior chiefs have also a short cloak, resembling the former, made of the long tail feathers of the cock, the tropic and man-of-war birds, with a broad border of the small red and yellow feathers, and a collar of the same.

When Captain James Cook first landed on Hawaii, feather cloaks and capes satisfied certain European aesthetic standards and were considered to possess a commercial value. So great were their value in trade, and the changes so drastic to the traditional Hawaiian social system, that only fifty years after Cook's landing, feathers cloaks and capes became extremely scarce.

There are 55 cloaks and 107 capes that have survived the European colonial occupation of Hawaii. The remaining capes and cloaks are scattered through out the world. On the mainland United States there are 3 cloaks and 16 capes: the British Isles have 25 cloaks and 37 capes: Europe has 13 cloaks and 24 capes: Australia and New Zealand have 3 cloaks and 2 capes and Hawaii has 11 cloaks and 28 capes with 11 cloaks and 17 capes at the Bishop Museum while the 11 remaining capes are in private collections.

The tropical temperature in Hawaii requires little clothing. Male Hawaiians wore a garment called a malo that resembled a loin cloth. The malo was made of narrow strips of kapa cloth that were wrapped around the waist and passed between the legs. Females wore a pa'u , that resembled a kilt type skirt, make of wide strips of kapa wrapped around the waist. A unisex upper garment of kapa called a kihei was on occasion worn over the shoulders. Feather cloaks and capes were only worn for important ceremonies and military engagements. As noted by Captain King, These feathered dresses seemed to be exceedingly scarce...during the whole time we lay in Karakakooa Bay ( Kealakeakua ), we never saw them used but on three occasions; in the curious ceremony of Tereeoboo's ( Kalaniopuu ) first visit to the ships; by some chiefs who were seen among the crowd on shore when Captain Cook was killed; and afterward, when Eappo brought his bones to us.

So great was the impressive impact of Hawaiian feather cloaks on Europeans that missionaries praised the art without condescension and could relate to its exalted place in Hawaiian society. Captain King could not believe that such a sophisticated shape and design originated in Hawaii. He subsequently started an unfounded and speculative assumption that lasted into the 20th century, claiming that Hawaii was first discovered by the Spanish. He was basically so overcome by the beauty the cloaks, that he believed they must of had origins in Europe. Captain King notes in his log:

The exact resemblance between this habit and the cloak and helmet formerly worn by the Spaniards was too striking not to excite our curiosity to inquire whether there were any probable grounds for supposing it to have been borrowed form them. After exerting every means in our power of obtaining information on the subject, we found they had no immediate knowledge of any other nation whatever; nor any tradition remaining among them of these islands having been ever visited before by such ships as ours. But notwithstanding the result of these inquiries, the uncommon form of this habit appears to me a sufficient proof of is European origin, especially when added to another amongst all the branches of this tribe dispersed through the South Sea. We were driven indeed by this conclusion to a suppositions of the shipwreck of some Buccaneer, or Spanish ship, in the neighborhood of these islands. But when it is recollected that the course of the Spanish trade from Acapulco to the Manilas is but a few degrees to the Southward of the Sandwich Islands in their passage out and to the Northward on their return, this supposition will not appear in the least improbable.

Myths and legends of the divine origins of feather cloaks are an integral aspect to understanding their complex meaning and function within society. The legend of the origin of the first feather cloak takes us back to the time of Kahaalaneo, the chief of Maui. Kahaalaneo had a runner called Eleio who was a kahuna with great powers. The chief who lived in Lahaina sent Eleio to Hana to fetch some awa . On the way to Hana Eleio captured a beautiful spirit of a dead girl and forced it back into her lifeless body. The parents and family of the girl known as Kanikaniaula prepared a feast and feather cloak. They then offered the cloak and Kanikaniaula to Eleio. When Eleio returned to Lahaina he knew death would be his reward for returning without the awa Kahaalaneo requested, so Eleio gave the feather cloak and Kanikaniaula to his chief, who make her his queen. The legend furthers describes how the cloak was handed down for many generations, frequently being worn by Nahienaena, the daughter of Kamahameha I. The feast that coincides with the completion of the feather cloak possibly alludes to the sacred ceremonies that were performed during the process of creating a feather cloak.

In another version of the myth the beautiful spirit was Kanikaniaula, a high ranking female chief from the big island who married a commoner, but was hiding her feather cape and identity. She gives her cape and insignia to Elio who captured and revived her spirit. When returning to Kahaalaneo Elio was captured and thrown into a fire for disobeying orders. The king then saw the cape on Elio's back and had his men pull him out of the fire. The cape was destroyed but then Kanikaniaqula shows up with some chiefs form the big island and gives Kahaalaneo another cape and they become husband and wife. In both versions of the creation myth, the one obvious similarity is the cloak is used as an object that enables a conflict to be recognized and resolved through its extraordinary beauty, and representative significance of power, prestige and authority.

New Zealand and the Society Islands also have feather cloak traditions, yet the sophisticated Hawaiian feather capes and cloaks were purely a Hawaiian invention as all three cloak traditions differ greatly in tying techniques suggesting that each method was an independent development in each island group. The Maori of New Zealand do have a sacred all red cape made of parrot feathers called kahukura , but New Zealand cloaks are made of flax fiber, where the feathers are attached by turns of a two paired interlocking weft. (fig. 1) In Tahiti the dazzling mourner's costume contained a feather cloak that was constructed by attaching bunches of feathers to a long cord with overhand knots. (fig. 2) In the Cook islands feathers were attached to garments by a human bone needle in the creation of a maro ura or feather sash.

Hawaii was no exception to the pan-Polynesian tradition of using red as a royal and sacred signifier. In the Society Islands a "red-feather cult" developed to the point that all prayers to the indigenous gods were said over a small bunch of red feathers held in the fingers. "Red feathers had then become the necessary medium for invoking the great gods, particularly the god of war", for in the society islands as well as in Samoa the war god was worshipped in bird form. This implanted in the red feathers the spirit of the gods simultaneously transferring a spiritual supernatural presence to where ever red feathers were found. Red feathers are believed to be sacred due to the color of red being associated with the spiritually dangerous color of blood.

In the Society Islands creation myth, as told in a Tahitian chant recorded in 1822, the first being Ta'aroa is an anthropomorphised bird figure who "long existed in an absolute void, but after an eternity broke out through his shell to differentiate the heavens and the earth, light and darkness and a succession of foundations for the rock and earth... in a Polynesian Big Bang". Ta'aroa then created the islands vegetation by shaking off his feathers in a transmutation of foliage. A Hawaiian spiritual ruler wearing a feather cloak and mihole not only physically resembled a type of creator god similar to Ta'aroa but actually possessed the mana of a creator god, ensuing fecundity and fulfilling his role to ensue the renewal of life. This association with a god who regulates fertility is worth noting for "the most important element of Polynesian chieftanship was not political leadership, but the maintenance of a kind of auspiciousness manifest especially in agricultural fertility...in successful fishing and good health".

On the island of Raiatea in the Society Islands a hereditary red feather cloak is presented in a ceremony to a new king when consecrated. According to a missionary writing about the cloaks, with each new ruler an additional length is added to the cloak while the symbolic marks and designs of the plumage, "indicate that many hundreds of human victims have been sacrificed during its gradual making". In Hawaii no human sacrifices were necessary in the construction of feather cloaks. The example of Raiatea just illustrates the extent to which sacred traditions are paramount in the manufacture of royal feather cloaks.

The resources necessary to create a feather cloak or cape were immense while vast expenditures of labor were required for their construction. Feathers were used as currency throughout Polynesia, and in Hawaii feathers were tokens of exchange used to pay taxes or barter for goods. The tax that the feathers provided were part of a harvest festival known as Makahiki 'New Year Festival'.

Only a high ranking chief could collect enough feathers from the people to commission a cloak, for cloaks could use up to half a million feathers. The feathers in their abundance not only displayed the rulers wealth but alluded to the amount of people and land he controlled, for feathers quite possible represented the people under the direct power of the chief. The ruling elite controlled all aspects of economic productivity with the aid of a finance system based on the monetary value of feathers, representative of the economic capital of land, people, and resources. Feathers were an integral part of a chiefly economy and ritual activities that perpetuated the monopolization of ideological power, aiding the Ali'i to legitimize their control over the access to resources. The resources that went into a cloak can even illustrate the exploitive practices of a unforgiving hierarchy.

Molohai heiau is the community shrine of a permanent upland habitation site approximately 6km upslope on the Western slope of Haleakala on Maui. (fig 3) Upland residents relied upon the sweet potato and dryland taro but all marine resources were dependent on a elaborate trade network. The archeological evidence of Molohai heiau on Maui, links the role of human predation in the extirpation of terrestrial avifauna. The primary evidence for the sites function was the systematic exploitation of terrestrial birds illustrating the importance and value of the trade in feathers. Certain forest birds were captured in great numbers for their valuable brightly colored feathers with four species becoming extinct between 1057 and 1440 CE, suggesting that status differentiation was the motivating factor, as chiefly competition further emphasized the commodity of feathers.

Red feathers were taken from the 'i'iwi (fig. 4) and apapane birds. Yellow feathers were taken form the 'o'o (fig. 5) and mamo (fig. 6) birds. Green feathers were taken form the 'o'u , akialoa , and amakihi . and black feathers from the 'o'o , mamo , 'i'iwi , and apapane . Black and green feathers were used primarily as complimentary colors usually for borders. The 'o'o and mamo are now extinct. the 'o'o was predominately a small black bird with small tufts of yellow near each wing and on the tail. (fig. 5) The mamo was also a small black bird with spots of yellow on the tail and thighs. (fig. 6) The distinct golden yellow of the mamo bird was highly prized. Due to the scarcity of the bird with its restricted habitat and the limited number of feathers, the particular orange golden color of the yellow feathers of the mamo were the rarest and the highest prized. Yellow does not appear in Hawaiian myths as synonymous with royalty therefore its value was is direct relation to its controlled scarcity. This led to an increased prestige until yellow became the symbolic color of the Ali'i.

The value of feathers in Hawaiian society led to a specialized occupation of professional feather hunters, poe kawili manu . Immersed in ritual, the poe kawili manu chanted and gave offerings to various amakua to insure and promote successful gathering of the sacred feathers. These hunters would spend weeks in the cool forest tracking the birds studying their behavioral patterns. The snaring of the birds was done by spreading a adhesive paste, made of the viscid juice of the "papala" or breadfruit tree ( posonia umbellifera ), on particular tree branches. The 'o'o and mamo were only trapped in the molting season when their yellow plumage was is its best condition. The poe kawili manu plucked the few yellow feathers being sure to release the bird unharmed by unsticking it using kukui oil, so it could grow a new crop next year. The others birds were killed, plucked, eaten, and the skins dried and sold in the market in bundles of ten or twenty.

Only the properly trained and initiated had access to the cloaks. The information regarding its creation and dissemination were strictly regulated and controlled. Social roles and gender identities were highly correlated, creating a strict sexual division of labor. Coconut sennit and other sacred media were only used by males as the type of materials and process used can often determine the sex of the worker. The men who created the cloaks and capes retained a specialized system of knowledge that was regulated by the protocols of mediating between the realms of spirits and humans. These highly skilled artists had to memorize lengthy chants and potent incantations that accompanied the tedious weaving of the backing of the capes and the attachments of the feathers in a humble yet sublime ritual. If a cape was not constructed in the pre-ordained fashion, if handled inappropriately or malevolently, it could cause divine retribution.

A net structure or naepuni , made of olona fiber comprised the base of the cloak or cape. (fig. 7) Olona fiber comes form the bark of the olona tree ( Touchardia latifolia ) and is said to be stronger then hemp. The stripped barked is soaked in water to loosen the fibers, then scraped on a long narrow board called a laau kahi olona with a turtle bone scraper called a kuahona . (fig. 8) Once the fibers are scrapped out the spinner twists them together on his thigh.(fig. 9) Hawaiians did not have looms or spindles. The fibers twisted into cords and threads were then woven by men of high rank who were skilled in the technique. The net or nae was formed with a netting needle or mender, Hia aho ke upena, (fig. 10) producing a netting knot similar to the fisherman's netting knot. The net mender "consisted of a round stick of wood cut down to form a shoulder at the end of the handle part, then trimmed to a long slender prong with a blunt point", that was about 0.33 inches in diameter and 6 inches long. It was a common custom to net bands form 8 to 12 inches, to be later cut and fitted into the final shape. Numerous pieces of the base were woven together to create a tailored garment, that hugged the form of the shoulders and back, making sure not to be to long for it was tapu for feathers to drag on the ground.

It is quite possible that the fine mesh netting was fabricated while chanting prayers, in a sense capturing or entangling them, enabling a continuos prayer to protect the wearer. The type of prayer can only be a matter of speculation. An important Hawaiian concept of aha refers to a prayer or service whose efficacy depends on the recitation under tapu with out interruption. Kaeppler suggests that the cloaks and capes were "fabricated while chanting mele ma'i 'genital chants' that honored the procreative powers and their physical concomitants, protecting the chief's vital parts for the perpetuation of the societal ruling lines".

As the word puni carries the connotation of overcoming obstacles in battle, the naepuni net base could of been woven to the recitation of victorious battle stories or in the devination of an upcoming event. The net backing of capes and cloaks were often woven in sections suggesting that each piece was woven to a different prayer. (fig. 7) These cloak sections may vary in the fineness of the weaving and the size of the thread. (fig. 11) Kaeppler believes that additional lengths added to capes represents the renewal of sanctity when a garment was to be worn for a major encounter. Bringham contests this notion, stating the strips of network added by a sort of exogenous growth do not increase the owners rank, but that the garment is designed for a particular person and that an edition would greatly disturb the balance. Vertical breaks between rows on the net were prevented while horizontal divisions were desirable for a greater flexibility. A braided collar of olona was attached to the upper corners of the garment in order to tie the cloak on. This was the only attachment around the body allowing for full use of the arms.

The feather tying techniques as well as the net weaving techniques are hidden form the viewer. The feathers were carefully arranged in small bunches according to size and attached by the quills to the naepuni with a much finer olona thread that comprises the mesh base. The feathers were closely attached to the base in overlapping rows beginning at the lower border, to form a smooth flat surface. The shaft of the feathers were bound by a turn of a two-ply twisted olona fiber thread, then bent and bound by another turn in over hand knots and fastened to the mesh. (fig. 12) This produced a very secure method were the feathers could not be broken or pulled out. The unbroken thread knots were all skillfully concealed by the next row of feathers. The thread was continuous as it passed form left to right securing successive bunches of feathers.

The prayer that might of accompanied the continuous tying of feathers is referred to as afa or "any prayer whose effectiveness requires that it be carried out under taboo and without interruption." This process was most likely similar to the weaving of the naepuni , where it was accompanied by chants and prayers imbedding a protective mana into the garment. Genealogical chants quite possibly could of been recited to insure the recognition of ancestry and glorify the family history that ultimately reached back to the gods themselves.

The elaboration of tying techniques probable reflects the complexity of mana captured. In some capes, one knot with an additional half hitch is used while other capes have additional knots around the far end of the quill before the thread passes on to the next bunch. Many variations exist in the tying techniques, (fig. 12) with the meshes ranging from 5 to 6 mm. in depth and width, and the feather quills 6 to 7 mm in length. If the different tying techniques represent different chants or prayers, this method of recording oral incantations could of been a way of remembering complex genealogies and significant historic moments such as battles.

Feather cloaks have a humble origin, that probable derived form the ti-leaf rain cape in which a strip of ordinary fishing net formed the foundation for the attachment of split ti-leaves to form an overlapping water resistant thatch. (fig. 13) This protective utilitarian object evolved into a type of rectangular cape design, comprised of a single piece of coarse mesh. The feathers are generally from less prestigious birds such as the tail feathers from the cock, tropic, and man-o-war birds. There were common feather tying techniques for rectangular capes that differed from the tying knots of the circular capes, such as the thread that tied on the feathers was cut after each bunch was attached. (fig. 14) Some rectangular capes have the prized yellow and red feathers, yet the mesh was to coarse to tie on these small delicate feathers. Instead a strip of kapa or fine plaited woven mat like material was sewn into the upper boarder of the cape. Pieces of dried bird skin were then glued down in rows to cover the kapa strip. This technique illustrates that some of the 'o'o and mamo birds were killed for rectangular capes. There are of course exceptions to cape construction. One cape was found in a cave on the big island with a fine mesh foundation suitable for red 'i'iwi feathers, possibly representing a transitional stage. (fig. 15)

The strict management of feather resources insured that the color, shape, and designs of cloaks were far from arbitrary, with the over all design and shape exhibiting a "coordinated and determined emphasis on the crescent". Each ruling family had particular designs or combination of designs that conveyed a particular meaning similar to a European coat of arms. The design elements are varied, but were generally restricted to three basic colors, (red, yellow, black) and one principle geometric pattern, (crescent) that appears on the smallest cape to the largest cloak. The various variety of shapes, colors and designs were in direct relation to genealogical reference that described degrees of nobility and rank of Ali'i. Cloaks illustrated the community's alliances and political relationships in a complex social order.

The complex political ruling class of traditional Hawaii was a four-tiered chiefly hierarchy, that developed in a subsistence economy and was based on pure genealogy, the ultimate expression of which was a pi'o.

Peter Buck asserts that color-designs were influenced to a large extent by the shape and technique of the netting-foundation. A change of color often followed the rows of meshed netting, leading to the speculation that the origin of the common crescent motif was initiated by the technique of feather attachment. The validity of this theory is questionable considering that pattern designs were inherited and evolved into stylized geometric designs. It is more likely that the crescent motif was an already established motif of great importance. Brigham suggests that the patterns were sketched on white kapa before the feathers were attached. No two cloaks or capes were alike yet they all provided the same basic function of power verification and supernatural protection. The designs displayed divine ancestry thus evoking spiritual mana .

Cloaks and capes had kaona or 'veiled meaning' providing a sacred protection by ones ancestors who's mana were embedded into the garments. The koana of the capes and cloaks suggested a hidden and layered meaning. This is illustrated in designs of cloaks being concealed or partially hidden by the folds of the garment and in the stealthy and ingenious overlapping of the feathers to produce a visually smooth seamless garment. This obscuring of the sacred designs added to their auspicious nature. The concept of kaona can also be applied to the concealment of the backbone by the cloak, in a sense wrapping and protecting a sacred and divine lineage represented by the segmentation of the spine. Feather cloaks offered physical and spiritual protection in the guarding of ones genealogy called mo'opuna , symbolized by the spine or backbone, called iwikuamo'o . The back of the Ali'i was considered tapu , and if anyone approached an Ali'i form the rear it was an offense punishable by death.

Genealogical related visual elements were color, and design. The designs on the cloaks and capes were contrived consciously to give the wearer an awesome intimidating appearance, maximizing visual impact and in effect radiating and enhancing mana . The visual symbols and designs of the cloaks most likely were a visual reference to the spoken chants that were recited during its creation. It will be a matter of speculation as to the exact meaning of the designs as related to particular incantations.

The crescent is the most common motif found on the capes and cloaks and is often associated with a rainbow, a sign of the Ali'i. The exact meaning of Cloak designs continues to be mystery as Roger Rose asserts, the various configuration of triangular, circular or crescent designs, "have no known decipherable meaning." While John Charlot states that, "the connection of colors and symbols to particular chiefs is generally accepted, but so far insufficiently know". Lucy Peabody has gone as far as to suggest that crescent shapes are representative of moons while Charlot proposes that if this is the case such designs are connected to particular night gods of a family or days of birth.

The crescent is a structural design element that is incorporated into almost all cloaks and capes. (figs. 18,19,22) This prevalent geometric design is created by the placement of red and yellow feathers on the naepuni . A common and important design motif of the ahu ula cape is a large central crescent on the vertical axis with half crescent arcs on the side borders. When worn the geometrical patterns were greatly modified as the two smaller half-crescent units meet in front, to create two full crescent elements. (fig. 20) Another of the many variation of this basic design is the central crescent having a peak in the middle, emphasizing the central vertical axis of the backbone. (fig. 18,19)

Out of 92 capes and 45 cloaks surveyed by Peter Buck the most common color scheme is, "a lower border of yellow, a background of red, and geometrical motifs in yellow against the red background". The side boarders usually have half crescents or triangles while the neck border is usually decorated with short bars in alternating red, yellow, black, and green.

The crescent designs are reminiscent of the wings of birds, echoing the feathered avian appearance of an Ali'i dressed in cloak and mahiole . The reference to wings in the crescent motif is purely speculative on design conceptions and appearance, in relation to the natural world, for it is easy to imagine a feather cloak flapping in the trade winds reminiscent of a supernatural bird figure.

The crescent motifs on the brightly colored feather capes are considered a recreation of the rainbow, illustrating a divine manifestation. Rainbows signal the presence of the gods and Ali'i for rainbows are vehicles of the gods, by which they ascend and descend from the heavens. The royal color red is also associated with the rainbow. Rainbows are effected by levels of genealogy. For example the highest ranking Ali'i was a pi'o of a brother-sister marriage, like Nahi'ena'ena. Such a child was considered a "thing bent on itself" as in "the arch of a rainbow".

The crescent motif as representing a rainbow acts as a binding agent linking the power of the Ali'i with the gods for, "the hierarchical Polynesian cosmos generally distinguished categorically between divine and human agency, locating the former in the heavens and the later on the earth". Feather cloaks with crescent designs bridged the gap between the sacred and the profane, providing an encompassing form that rendered intelligible the ethereal nature of the divine. Sacred design motifs would manifest themselves in a clear display of protection, signs of political and military unity, empowering clan solidarity.

When multiple crescents are depicted (double rainbow) it is the possible representation of a tiered structure of multiple heavens, for "the greater number of heavens through which the god must descend, the higher he is and the greater his power". Conforming to Polynesian traditions the Maori word for feather cloak, kahukura , stands for the rainbow and the rainbow god, while the Tahitian the word for feather cape, tohura , means "peace of the rainbow". These two words are related to the Hawaiian, kukekuku , meaning "bending" or "arching of the rainbow".

The crescent also has an aggressive connotation, associated with the crescent of the mahiole . The crescent motif can be further taken as symbol of power when associated with the arching form of a breaking wave. The awesome power of the waves was respected and possibly perceived as a force similar to that of defiant warrior Ali'i. Just as the bent knee stance in carved wooden figures expresses potential action, the crescent in this regard becomes an activating, and engaging symbol of animated projected power. The wave crescent relationship is rooted in surfing, the only ancient game, pa'ani kahiko , to survive and thrive in modern times.

The wave shaped arching crescent form that covers the head in a few wooden sculptures is often called to as a "cockscomb". The top of the head was considered sacred and in need of protection. The arching form carved to shelter the head is possibly an extension of the backbone considered symbolic of ones projected sacred genealogy.

The double crescent design is possible a representation of the dualism that pervades the entire Polynesian world-view. Dualism appears in creation chants, genealogies, and various mythological traditions, expressing itself in opposing and balancing natural forces, such as light/dark, earth/sky, fire/water, life/death, and tapu/noa. Ceremonial symbols of authority, often decorated with paired images, may represent the chief's right to represent bilateral lines of descent.

The crescent motif on feather garments might refer to the placement of wooden images within a hieau . The organization of sacred space in a hieau, where the ceremonial placement of sculptures forms a semi circle, empowers the images as receptacles of the gods and instructs a visual focal point of transformation. Major fixed wooden images, considered the most important objects of ancient Hawaii, were erected in front of a tower with the main alter, lele , inside the semi circle.

Further crescent symbolism is found in the prearranged and choreographed methods of fighting in Hawaiian society. Hawaiians had no shields in battle, the only protection being heavy mats, feathered cloaks, capes and helmets. Capes and cloaks were practical protection against stones and blows but they could be pierced by spears. If a battle was to be fought on level open ground a formation called kahului was used in which the soldiers formed a huge crescent with the commander standing in the middle wearing a feather cape. This possibly explains an aspect of the crescent motif on particular feather cloaks in relation to defiant warrior Ali'i .

If cloak and cape design were related to battle formations they quite possibly could of installed fear, and awe in a unique type of aesthitisized terrorism. But what about the diamond, triangle, and circle motifs, it remains a matter of speculation as to any connection with various battle formations. Regardless of the precise meaning of the design motifs, the dramatic appearance of capes and cloaks represented a united spirit in battle, a marker of pride in ones tribal identity and hierarchical status in society. The over all effect of the feather garments worn in battle provided a symbol to rally behind. A spiritually charged military uniform, cloaks possessed a divine and gallant presence that inspired and captured the spirit of the troops. This can be seen in performance of the battle code that regulated the conduct of a leader in an engagement, exposing him to a greater risk as described by Tyerman and Bennet,

A chief would take the field, clothed in a long cloak of yellow and red feathers, exquisitely wrought and reaching to the heels, as well as amply folding over the chest; his head was likewise accounted with a gorgeous helmet, correspondingly decked with parti-colored plumage. He bore neither spear nor shield, nor any weapon offensive or defensive, but only a fan in his hand, which he brandished in front of his antagonists (who were drawn up in a line before him), thus challenging them to begin the attack upon himself singly, while his followers were drawn up, in like manner, behind, to support him, if necessary. A number of spears were then thrown at him by the enemy; which, with wonderful dexterity, he contrived to avoid or divert by a stroke of the hand, or by stooping, twisting, and turning aside his body, even when twenty or thirty at a time were falling around him...Whenever he could, he caught the spears in the air, and hurled them back, with deadly retaliation, upon his foes.

In Hawaiian literature cloaks are perceived as keia mea ulaula maikai , 'this good, glowing-red thing'. They were also often named. One garment was called Keakulapu , the ghostly god, on account of its glowing red hue. The cloak of the mountain goddess, Poli'ahu , on the big island is white, representative of snow. The beauty of cloaks are emphasized rather then their protective function as illustrated in the famous chant of Kuali'i, where he is described in battle as an iridescent vision:

Komo Ku I kona ahuula , Ku comes in his glowing red cloak,

Ka wela o ka ua I ka lani The heat of the rain in the sky/on the chief

Ka la I Kauakahihale, The sun at Kauakahihale (the name of the chief's residence)

Ula ka lau o ka mamane Glowing red is the leaf of mamane .

It should be noted that capes and in particular cloaks were not static objects, but viewed in the round on a figure who was involved in a ceremonial procession or battle. The colors and designs dazzled in the bright tropical sun, created to enhance and compliment the dynamic movements of the wearer. According to Kaeppler, "little is known about the movement conventions of old Hawaii", yet the choreography of one who adorns a feather cape more then likely had a structured formalized movement system in order to effectively display the garment. Captain cook even noticed the ritualized movements that accompanied feathers cloaks for he observed that "the people who had them (feather cloaks) make some gesticulations which we had seen used before by those who sung." Dance and performing ( hula ) was and is an important cultural form of communication in Hawaii. Understanding the movements fostered by the wearing of a cloak might provide an insight into kinetic rituals. The elegant and controlled dance movements of hula and pahu alluded to certain events and words. The wearing of a feather cape evoked the mana of the gods, encouraging a divine audience, and what better way to validate ones prestige then performing for the gods. Kaeppler asserts that, " Hula performances paid allegiance to the rank-based sociopolitical system, which honored and validated social distinctions"

Feather capes and cloaks greatly appealed to European taste but in Hawaiian culture they provided an essential balance among the stratified society by invoking the essential elements of tapu and mana . Hawaiian feather work was a physical manifestation that engaged the spiritual realm, providing a symbol that restricted and regulated human contact with the sacred. More then personal ornaments of the Ali'i , feather cloaks embodied the rulers vital essence, for they were filled with mana . They were the physical representation of the abstract force of divine mana . In Hawaii mana was expressed in images of abundance, and what better way to represent abundance then the dazzling display of wealth and prestige of a feather cloak. The feather cloak was a direct reflection and receptacle of the mana manifest in the wearer.

The mana of a cloak was linked to a distinct individual, not only becoming a characteristic visual symbol, but actually providing a legitimacy of authority and empowerment. Cloaks and capes were tailored garments expressing individual traits such as martial prowess and diplomatic skills, augmenting and projecting the wearers charisma, personal force, social status, princely charm and leadership abilities. Cloaks and capes carried an intimacy with the wearer, absorbing the persons mana , and accumulating the mana of succeeding generations, rendering whoever wore the cloak invulnerable. Thus a cloak or cape taken in battle may of had many previous owners, and would have to be handled with considerable reverence and caution. Adrienne Kaeppler states that "cloaks and capes were worn only in battle and other dangerous and sacred situations and that so-called "ceremonial occasions" for wearing them did not exist."

A rulers genealogy offered spiritual protection in the form of a cloak. Cloaks as highly visible symbolic objects influenced the acceptance of a chief's right to rule. According to Adrienne Kaeppler the general populace of Hawaii was not well versed in the intricacies of genealogy. If this is the case then feather cloaks were extremely important status verification objects that presented a visual legitimatization of the right to rule. Cloaks illustrated the community's alliances and political relationships in a complex social order for authority in Hawaii was derived from the most prestigious genealogy as displayed in the design of cloaks.

A kahuna or priest was most likely directly involved with a specialist who possessing the skill and knowledge known as mana , had the capacity to internalize intellectual power as concrete, coherent products (feather cloaks) that replicated the sacred work on the gods. Feather cloaks were meant to harness the power of the gods by forcefully appropriating mana, that is in a sense wrested from the divine. Feather cloaks in this respect represent the generative powers appropriated, channeled, transformed and bound.

A mystery remains as to how the incantations and prayers were structured in association with the construction of the net backing and the attachment of the feathers. Quite possibly an elaborate ritual to forcefully empower the cloak with mana tied the powers of the gods to the Ali'i just as the feathers are tied onto the cloak. Kaeppler suggests that the braiding of the fiber netting captured the chant and objectified it. The objectification of the prayer wrapped the wearer of the cloak, symbolically encasing and enveloping the person is a perpetual prayer.

With the potent mana of the feather cloaks came kapu . Kapu often refers to a binding of the sacred, a containment of mana , again referring to the capturing of mana in the cloaks. The feathers cover or wrap the cloak which in turn wraps the wearer. The concept of wrapping or entangling a sacred object is filled with the essence of kapu , controlling and covering a powerful mana . The binding of the sacred is a principle concept of ritual worship for Polynesian divine. When a feather cape wraps the wearer, divine benevolence is activated, as mana is ritually harnessed into a distilled unbound potency. The binding of the dangerous energies in the netting and the attachment of feathers, harnessed the perpetual oral prayers into a visual form. "Like the god, the king was conceived as an initially uncontrolled and external power which penetrated the society and conquered it by violence." In this transcendence the Ali'i went from a state in which his powers were not controlled by society to one in which they were identified with the society as a whole and therefore with its reproduction and life.

The binding rite of sanctification incorporated ho'okapu , the entanglement of prayers, that transformed objects of noa to kapu . Once an object was kapu it was bound to a divine potency. The containment of mana appears to have been a paramount concern, vital to the ruling authority of the Ali'i . The ambivalent nature of a divine presence dwelling within feather cloaks installed awe yet projected fear and dread in battle similar to the red feather wicker images of Ku.

Kamehameha the Great had a cloak made of an estimated 500,000 mamo feathers, taken form about 80,000 birds. The cloak is pure golden in color with no designs with the naepuni made of seven horizontal strips. (fig. 24) This cloak displays a minimalist all encompassing approach to regal dignity that contains an unmatched beauty of simplicity. This cloak was not constructed as a work of art in the Western sense, it represented no'eau , skillfulness or cleverness, that depicted Kamehameha's authority over the chiefly lines of Maui, Kauai and Oahu. Kamehameha's cloak was by far the most precious and is said to be the last cloak to be ever made. With Kamehameha's rise there is a shift in power and authority represented in his unusual cloak that changes the sacred intricacies of genealogical depictions. The all yellow cloak stands for the unification of the Hawaiian islands. The population's entire perceived world was consolidated under one ruler. This is reminiscent of the legend of Maui who tried in vain to unite the islands. Kamehameha conquered his known universe, and displayed his supreme domination over his reality by the all yellow feather cape. Kamehameha in his pure golden cloak does not incorporate any genealogical design elements. He creates a sign of absolute power, symbol of a genealogical usurper who does not acknowledge that his sons Liholiho and Kauikeaouli and his daughter Nahi'ena'ena actually outranked him in genealogical prestige. Kamehameha turned the merely materially important yellow into a greater culturally significant color then the sacred red. Kamehameha's intentional altered style conveyed new meanings in an altered world. The prominent crescent designs that represented the genealogy and nobility are gone, leaving wealth as the sacred source of empowerment, following the European model. This social transformation takes place with the introduction of Western resources, in particular weapons that changed the balance of power, transforming power into authority and ultimately prestige.

In conclusion, the size, shape and color of a cloak or cape signified the wealth, power and prestige of the Ali'i who wore it while the crescent designs marked the persons sacred genealogical descent. These ancient Hawaiian feather cloaks and capes tantalize the imagination for the intricate and sophisticated yet clear and simple designs remain a mystery as the exact meaning of the geometric designs on feather capes and cloaks will continue to a matter of speculation. The poised precision of the geometric motifs might possibly present us with a connection to the designs of ancient kapa and tattoos. What can be deduced form these spiritually potent garments is that they were the products of an advanced society, constructed by dedicated mystics who envisioned and created a unique visual language of a profound and powerful mana .

Feather cloaks and capes are the quintessential Hawaiian art form, incorporating valuable aspect of ancient life in their complex meaning and construction to reflect a magnificent apparition of beauty that are the Hawaiian islands and its people. Feather cloaks are quite possibly the one artifact that best represents the ancient Hawaiian's society, religion, and economics, capturing the spirit of the indigenous culture. They are visual metaphors rendering an ethereal spectrum of colors in permanent form. Gods and humans alike were supplicated through these receptacles, representing a single synchronic visual experience that transcends time.

Traditional Hawaiian feather garments no doubt have a plethora of meanings that contain a chaos of simultaneous possibilities. The aesthetic status of cloaks and capes has always been will respected for they are enchantingly beautiful. Constructed by prophets and virtuoso artists who interpret and translated eternal emotions and religious beliefs into a physical reality, the cloaks and capes confer upon the supernatural a visible form that captures the most subtle spiritual essence of the soul.

FOOTNOTES:

Cummins, Tom. "Kinshape, The Design of the Hawaii Feather Cloak." Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans . New Jersey: Prentice Hall

The beauty and magnificence of Hawaiian feathers cloaks and capes can not be exaggerated for their extremely attractive aesthetic appeal was part of their intended effect and not just a western interpretation of beauty. As Charlot states "beauty has religiopolitical significance in Hawaiian culture; it is not superficial, but a fundamental category and concern of thinking and practice. In a genealogical cosmic view, beauty is an essential element of the sexual dynamic and impels and perpetuates the universe."

Charlot, John. "The Feather Skirt of Nahiena'ena: An Innovation in Postcontact Hawaiian Art." Journal of Polynesian Society. Vol 100 June 1991: p.122

The majority of Hawaiian archaeological sites date to the period of 1650-1820.

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. p.5

Statistics are from the Bishop Museum.

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903.p.6 taken form the journal of Captain King; Cooks Voyages III., p.138

Cook had most likely read Anson's Voyage which was published the year cook sailed from England, in which was supposedly copy of a Spanish chart captured on a galleon June 20, 1743 on a voyage form Acapulco to Manila. This chart is marked with a group of islands called "Las Mesas" fifteen degrees off the correct longitude of the Hawaiian Islands, not a large error at the time.

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903.p.6 taken form the journal of Captain King; Cooks Voyages III., p.138

Kenn, Charles W. Kenn, "Legend of the First Feather Cloak", Paradise of the Pacific HI:

May, 1943: p.15

Cummins, Tom. "Kinshape, The Design of the Hawaii Feather Cloak." Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans . New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Buck, Peter. Arts and Crafts of Hawaii . Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1957.

Stokes, John Francis Gray, "Notes of Polynesian feather work", Honolulu, HI, Bishop Museum, 1921: p.75

Stokes, John Francis Gray, "Notes of Polynesian feather work", Honolulu, HI, Bishop Museum, 1921: p.76

Thomas, Nicholas. Oceanic Art . New York: Thames and Hudson. 1995 p.155

Thomas, Nicholas. Oceanic Art . New York: Thames and Hudson. 1995 p.155

Brigham, William T, Hawaiian Feather Work , Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press 1903: p.12

Brigham, William T, Hawaiian Feather Work , Honolulu, HI: Bishop Museum Press 1903: p.12

Tsutsumi, Cheryl Chee, "Dusting Off the Feathers", Aloha , Honolulu, HI: Davick Pub. Oct. 1986

Turner, Jane, The Dictionary of Art , Macmillan 1996, New York: p.248

During the Makahiki festival a ruling chief who served as the link between the divine and earthly worlds, renewed his responsibilities for the fertility of the land, people, and animals by taking part in a processional with three wooden images known as "feathered gods". They marched form hieau to hieau visiting each community shrine collecting tribute and redistributing it to the kahunas and lesser chiefs.

Permanent residential agricultural settlements were established in 300-600 CE windward and 1100-1400 CE on the leeward areas. By 1650 marine resources were exploited by coastal settlements while upland settlements focused on the production of dryland crops.

Four species of extinct terrestrial birds have been found at Molohai, while the modification of forested habitats has resulted in the extinction of 70 species of Hawaiian avifauna.

Kolb, Michael J. "Ritual Activity and Chiefly Economy at an Upland Religious Site on Maui, Hawaii." Journal of Field Archaeology 21 (1994): 417-136

Cummins, Tom. "Kinshape, The Design of the Hawaii Feather Cloak." Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans . New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Buck, Peter. Arts and Crafts of Hawaii . Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1957: p 233

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. p.51

Kaeppler, Adrienne L. "Hawaiian art and society: traditions and transformations", Transformation of Polynesian Culture. Auckland, The Polynesian Society 1985 p.119

Kaeppler, Adrienne L. "Hawaiian art and society: traditions and transformations", Transformation of Polynesian Culture. Aukland, The Polynesian Society 1985 p.107

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. p.51

Kaeppler, Adrienne L. "Hawaiian art and society: traditions and transformations", Transformation of Polynesian Culture. Auckland: The Polynesian Society 1985: p.120

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903: p.52

Shore, Bradd. "Mana and Tapu." Developments in Polynesian Ethnology . HI: 1989: 137-173

Buck, Peter. "The Local Evolution of Hawaiian Feather Capes and Cloaks." Journal of the Polynesian Society 53 (March, 1944) : 1-21

Buck, Peter. "The Local Evolution of Hawaiian Feather Capes and Cloaks." Journal of the Polynesian Society 53 (March, 1944) : 1-21

Buck, Peter, "Feather Capes and Cloaks of Old Hawaii", Paradise of the Pacific

April, 1943: p.24-25

Buck, Peter. "The Local Evolution of Hawaiian Feather Capes and Cloaks." Journal of the Polynesian Society 53 (March, 1944) : 1-21

Cummins, Tom. "Kinshape, The Design of the Hawaii Feather Cloak." Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans . New Jersey; Prentice Hall

The average size of a cloak is 61.5 inches in depth, 99 inches in width, 48 inches on the side edges and 24 inches across the neck. These measurements come form the Kiwalao cloak. (fig. 24,25) Kiwalao was defeated in battle and his cloak stripped from his body by his first cousin, Kamehameha. Almost entirely made of yellow feathers with a border of red triangles the Kiwalao cloak was originally owned by the son of king Kalanippuu, who is considered to be the indirect cause of Captain Cook's death at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, in 1788.

The highest ranking Ali'i was the ka moi , a supreme and absolute chief of an entire island. A ka moi had to come form a family where royal kinship was determined by marriage. The most sacred members of Hawaiian society were based on the highest ranking marriage of a brother-sister known as a pi'o , whose offspring were considered divine, a first cousin marriage or hoi'i , or a half-brother-sister marriage, called a naha .

The highest ranking Ali'i was the ka moi , a supreme and absolute chief of an entire island. A ka moi had to come form a family where royal kinship was determined by marriage. The most sacred members of Hawaiian society were based on the highest ranking marriage of a brother-sister known as a pi'o , whose offspring were considered divine, a first cousin marriage or hoi'i , or a half-brother-sister marriage, called a naha .

Buck, Peter. "The Local Evolution of Hawaiian Feather Capes and Cloaks." Journal of the Polynesian Society 53 (March, 1944) : 1-21

Buck, Peter, "Feather Capes and Cloaks of Old Polynesia", Paradise of the Pacific

March 1945: p.18-21

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903: p.52

The ultimate sacred wrapping and encasing of the body is illustrated in the coconut fiber sennit caskets known as kaai , that are unique to Hawaii.

Hawaiians traced genealogy in steps following the vertebrae of the spine.

With the cataclysmic alteration of Hawaiian culture from the arrival of Europeans in 1778 and the sanctity of the chiefs being dissolved in 1810 traditional religious beliefs and kapus surrounding feather cloaks were cast aside for the new virtues of European power .

Rose, Roger G. Hawaii: The Royal Islands. HI, Bishop Museum, 1980: p.193

Charlot, John. "The Feather Skirt of Nahiena'ena: An Innovation in Postcontact Hawaiian Art." Journal of Polynesian Society Vol 100 June 1991: p.155

Charlot, John. "The Feather Skirt of Nahiena'ena: An Innovation in Postcontact Hawaiian Art." Journal of Polynesian Society Vol 100 June 1991 p.155

Cummins, Tom. "Kinshape, The Design of the Hawaii Feather Cloak." Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans . New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Buck, Peter. Arts and Crafts of Hawaii . Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1957: p 227

43 of the 92 capes and 38 of the 45 cloaks have this yellow on red color scheme. 51 of the 92 capes have the dominate crescent motif. 9 capes have large feathers with no geometrical motif, 8, 6, and 5 capes have the narrow curved bands, lozenges, and triangles as the principle motif respectively. Not to mention the unique checkerboard pattern of the "Starbuck" cape. (fig. 21 ) As for cloaks surveyed, 25 are with out ornamentation, only 3 have a yellow background with 18 displaying the dominate crescent motif. 24 cloaks have a side border of triangles, 6 have half crescent side border designs, 10 cloaks are with out side ornamentation, 11 have triangle neck borders, 9, 6, and 6 cloaks have lozenges, crescents, and triangles as the principle motifs respectively.

Red as a scared color can also allude to the scarlet to crimson glow of the sunset which is extremely spectacular in Hawaii.

Cummins, Tom. "Kinshape, The Design of the Hawaii Feather Cloak." Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans . New Jersey: Prentice Hall

The major fixed wooden images of a luakini temple or heiau are erected in a semicircle, but the significance of this lay out is unknown.

Shore, Bradd. "Mana and Tapu." Developments in Polynesian Ethnology . HI: 1989: 137-173

V. Valeri. "The Luakini Temple Ritual." Kingship and Sacrifice Ritual and Society in Ancient Hawaii . University of Chicago press, 1985: p.251

Cummins, Tom. "Kinshape, The Design of the Hawaii Feather Cloak." Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans . New Jersey: Prentice Hall

The red and yellow triangle designs could be suggestive of tongues of fire and the power of pele , or triangle/crescent designs might imitate the double row of sharks teeth, invoking aumakua protective relationships.

Crested helmets covered in feathers known as mahiole complemented the cloaks adding to the royal regalia. The crescent of the mahiole is also associated with the fighting cock as a metaphor for a warrior.

Hawaiians have been surfing for centuries through out the island chain. It was called he'e nalu , and surfboards were known as papa he'e nalu . Dr. William Ellis of the Captain Cook and Captain Clerk voyages of the Resolution and Discovery notes that the papa he'e nalu were preserved with great care and frequently wrapped in kapa cloth. The wrapping of objects consecrates and celebrates its sacred nature, for protection and reverence were needed in the complex and dangerous sport of he'e nalu .

Buck, Peter. Arts and Crafts of Hawaii . Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1957: p.385

Suggs, Robert C. and Humphery, "Mata Peto: An Unusual Marquesan Tiki", Journal of the Pacific Arts Ass . July 1995: p.10-19

Suggs, Robert C. and Humphery, "Mata Peto: An Unusual Marquesan Tiki", Journal of the Pacific Arts Ass . July 1995: p.10-19

V. Valeri. "The Luakini Temple Ritual." Kingship and Sacrifice Ritual and Society in Ancient Hawaii . University of Chicago press, 1985

O'Bried Eileen, "Soldiering in the Days of Ancient Hawaii", Paradise of the Pacific

April 1943: p.22-23

In a forest battle ground soldiers were grouped into smaller units that advanced together, called makawalu . Another battle formation was when two opposing sides faced each other in tow solid lines called kukulu . Larger groups of reserves of around a thousand soldiers each called huna paa , which means war canoes were behind the first group of warriors.

Hall, U.H. "Two Hawaiian Feather Garments." The Museum Journal , Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1923: p.42- Journal of Voyages and Travels, D. Tyerman and G. Bennet, T,pp. 448,449 London, 1831

Charlot, John. "The Feather Skirt of Nahiena'ena: An Innovation in Postcontact Hawaiian Art." Journal of Polynesian Society Vol 100 June 1991

Kaeppler, A., "Ha'a and Hula: Movements of Ritual and Dance", Hula Pahu Hawaiian Drum Dance HI: Bishop Museum Press 1993: p.5

Brigham, William T. Hawaiian Feather Work HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1903. p.5

Usually nouns describing the natural world, such as flowers, important plants, birds, fish, pigs, etc.

Kaeppler, A., "Ha'a and Hula: Movements of Ritual and Dance", Hula Pahu Hawaiian Drum Dance HI: Bishop Museum Press 1993: p.13

Mana is critical concept for understanding Hawaiian art. Mana in a rough translation, is an abstract force manifested as luck, success, knowledge, skill, outstanding effectiveness in action, abundance, and corpulence. Mana is associated with the power of the divine referred as "a psychic dynamism manifesting itself physically" (Shore 139). Mana is usually associated with the hierarchical Polynesian cosmos essential in the multiplication of crops, and the health and well being of the community. Mana also refers to the potency of the chiefs, that represented the people.

Kaeppler, Adrienne L. "Hawaiian art and society: traditions and transformations", Transformation of Polynesian Culture. Auckland, The Polynesian Society 1985: p. 115

Kaeppler, Adrienne L. "Hawaiian art and society: traditions and transformations", Transformation of Polynesian Culture. Auckland: The Polynesian Society 1985: p.105

Shore, Bradd. "Mana and Tapu." Developments in Polynesian Ethnology . HI: 1989: 137-173

Mana and kapu set up complex levels of etiquette for breaches in prescribed behavior could have potential cosmic consequences. No one except a chief could wear sacred feathers and if this kapu was broken death was the punishment. Kapu was a mark of distinction separating the noble from the common. Things or persons not kapu were noa , associated with a freedom, unmarked, and unconstrained. Social kapus were a complex combination of love, honor, reverence, and fear vs. danger, respect, fear, pollution, and dread. Kapu as an active quality suggests a contained potency, as a passive quality suggests the forbidden and dangerous.

Shore, Bradd. "Mana and Tapu." Developments in Polynesian Ethnology . HI: 1989: 137-173

Shore, Bradd. "Mana and Tapu." Developments in Polynesian Ethnology. HI: 1989: 137-173

The cloak was estimated at a million dollars just for the labor alone in the eighteenth century. Hence in is often referred to the "million dollar cloak". In the late nineteenth century five yellow mamo feathers were priced at a dollar and a half. Today the cost to produce such an object would prohibit its creation, not to mention that no one is skilled enough and that the materials are lost forever due to the mamo bird being extinct.

Kaeppler, Adrienne L. "Hawaiian art and society: traditions and transformations", Transformation of Polynesian Culture . Auckland: The Polynesian Society 1985: p.121

Buck, Peter, "Feather Capes and Cloaks of Old Hawaii", Paradise of the Pacific

April: 1943: p.24-25