Tahitian mourner's costume

This is an example of the costume worn by the chief mourner following the funeral of an important Tahitian person. For the duration of the mourning the mourner was allowed to kill or maim anyone who came within his or her striking distance. There are no more than five such complete costumes surviving in the world. This costume was amongst a number of objects collected by David Ramsay, a Perth born doctor who sailed to Australia as a ship's surgeon and settled there. He donated his collection to the Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society in 1842

  • Material/Medium: Wood, pearlshell, barkcloth, coconut shell, plant fibre and feathers
  • Date: 18th century
  • Creator: n/a
  • Accession number: 1977.1415 to 1421
  • Category: World Cultures
  • Subject: n/a