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Object: Jacket, mans

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Title Jacket, mans
Production Unknown, circa 1900, Tuvalu
Medium summary processed pandanus leaf strips, pearl shell
Materials plant fibre, shell, dye
Classification jackets
Dimensions Overall: 770mm (Length) x 500mm (Width)
Credit line Purchased 1915
Registration number FE001055/1

Based on the distinctive yellow and red woven material from which it is made, this military jacket is believed to have originated from Tuvalu. This colour combination appears in other well-documented examples of weaving from the area. Jackets and shirts were introduced to the Pacific by nineteenth-century missionaries and sailors. Military jackets, hats, and regalia were sought after by people in some Pacific societies as symbols of social status.

The jacket is made in a military style. It has a tunic collar and long sleeves made from red and yellow pandanus matting, which has been cut out and hand sewn. It has five, large, round, pearl shell buttons, and epaulettes of plaited and fringed red-dyed plant fibres. A pearl shell 'star' is on the right breast and there are two lower pockets.

The jacket is a significant example of how Pacific peoples have used local materials to make introduced forms of clothing. It is related to a dress and hat in the collections that have been made in a similar way from the same materials. Items such as this jacket remind us that Pacific peoples often responded creatively to and actively appropriated new material culture and ideas.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.