20th century
Artist Unidentified, Pacific Islander


Overall: 19 x 55.5 cm (7 1/2 x 21 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

shells, fabric, paint?

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Jewelry


Hair ornaments

Jewelry and other bodily adornments serve a variety of purposes. Certain objects are symbolic of the wealth and prestige of the wearer, while others serve as protective devices that ward off spiritual and physical harm. Among many Oceanic communities, the importance of bodily adornment carried into the afterlife and the deceased would be buried with their personal jewelry.

Headbands such as this one were commonly part of a much larger headdress worn during battle or during ceremonial activities for which a headdress was required.


Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart