April 3, 2012

Video | Maori Weavers Use Feathers to Autograph Their Work

This research is so cool - a New Zealand researcher (Hokimate Harwood) has been looking at Maori feather cloaks under the microscope, and she has discovered that weavers use feathers to autograph their work.

Over 20 different native birds (and 10 non-native species) were used to create the 120 cloaks in the museum collection.

Harwood's research investigates how these various feathers were incorporated into the overall design of the cloaks and found that oftentimes a couple feathers were deliberately placed in strategic places. These tiny feathers probably embed messages and, with more research, they could help us to learn more about the artists and their individual styles.

TALES FROM TE PAPA is a new series of mini-documentaries for New Zealand television that showcases the significant pieces held in the national museum.