Aloha Friday Photos: Liloa’s Sash at Bishop Museum

image Today’s photos come to us from Karen who blogs at  Holoholo Hawaii. Karen is a docent at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. The photos that Karen is sharing is of one of the museum items from the newly restored Hawaiian Hall. This Hawaiian artifact is Liloa’s Sash.

Liloa was the high chief who ruled in the 1500’s. His sash was passed down to other generations of chiefs, eventually coming into the possession of King Kamehameha. In fact, the sash that you often see on King Kamehameha statues is symbolic of Liloa’s sash. (See one of our photos of King Kamehameha’s statue from Kapaau on the Big Island.)

If you look closely at the sash, you’ll see teeth – lots of teeth! From one of Karen’s blog posts about Bishop Museum, she explains the significance of the teeth.

Hawaiians believed in a spiritual power that permeated people and objects. The ali’i or high chiefs could pass this on to their decedents through different objects making the recipient even more powerful just by wearing or having the object in their possession. This would explain the teeth embedded in the sash. These teeth would have come from the deceased ali’i. Thus passing their mana on to the next ali’i.

image Mahalo to Karen for sharing her photos of such an interest artifact! I look forward to seeing this sash and the many other displays at Bishop Museum the next time I’m on Oahu.

5 comments
    1. Karen – I’ve heard about the Hawaiian believe that teeth and bones carry power (mana), but have never seen that manifested in an artifact. How interesting!

      You might get a kick out of an alternate title for this post — “A Royal Accessory That Packs a Bite” 🙂

  1. I’m considering an investigation and excursion into Waipio to excavate na ‘iwi o Liloa ma Lonoikamakahiki from a heiau site where it was repatriated (according to confidential sources). This is a joint effort between PRI and and a private investigation firm. This is an independent venture. Summer of 2010 will involve a helicopter survey. The on-site terrain survey will be next. Having said all that, can you contact Princess A.K. if she would be interested in talking to us before we go any further.

    a hui hou
    David Heaukulani, Ph.D.

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