This dance headdress is made from the trunk of a tree fern, covered in fibers and painted with pigments of European origin in red, white and blue. The base of the helmet is formed of two figures in relief, positioned back-to-back. These figures are each decorated with a pair of boar’s tusks, which are the traditional currency of Vanuatu. It was worn during men’s grading ceremonies which enable a man to advance his prestige and power.
Vanuatu, Malekula Island, beginning of the 20th century, made of tree fern wood, vegetal paste, bamboo, vegetal fibers, pigments and boar’s tusks, 80 x 38 x 62 cm, 71.1961.103.16 © musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, photo by Thierry Ollivier and Michel Urtado