October 25, 2016

 Hawaiian Featherwork Book Recognized with National Award

Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Aliʻi recognized with 2015 R. L. Shep Ethnic Textiles Book Award

Honolulu, HI A book on Hawaiian featherwork gained national recognition in the field of ethnic textile studies. Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Aliʻi, produced by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and co-published with the University of Hawai‘i Press, was selected for the R. L. Shep Ethnic Textiles Book Award for 2015. Edited by Leah Calderia, Christina Hellmich, Adrienne Kaeppler, Betty Lou Kam, and Roger G. Rose, this preeminent catalogue documents the Hawaiian featherwork exhibition shown at the de Young museum, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The presentation marked the first comprehensive showing in the continental United States of Hawaiian featherwork items loaned from national and international museums. The award was presented at the Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium in Savannah, Georgia which was held Oct. 19-23, 2016.

“I am so happy that I had the opportunity to work on this book and exhibition. It has been one of the highlights of my career,” said Dr. Adrienne Kaeppler, an editor of the book, and curator of oceanic ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution. “Hawaiian featherwork is one of the greatest arts in the world and this was an eye-opening event for new audiences,” she added.

Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Aliʻi features grand images of ʻahu ʻula (feather capes), akua hulu (feathered gods), mahiole (feathered helmets) and other royal feather works. In addition, scholarly essays by experts and cultural practitioners including Maile Andrade, M. Kamalu du Preez, Samuel M. ʻOhukaniʻōhiʻa Gon III, Noelle M. K. Y. Kahanu, Stacy L. Kamehiro, Marques Hanalei Marzan, and Noenoe K. Silva provide both historical and contemporary insight into the significance of Hawaiian featherwork.

The catalogue was found by the award committee to exemplify exceptional scholarship and engaging presentation to promote the field of textile studies. The breadth of studies covered in the book is captured in the committee’s description of this work:

Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Aliʻi . . . brings a multidisciplinary perspective to these spectacular textiles in a beautifully illustrated and accessible exhibition catalogue. Sensitively incorporating the voices of indigenous Hawaiian artists, the ecology of the islands and the birds that provided the materials, and new scholarship on the historic uses of featherwork by Hawaiians and Europeans, the varied perspectives will appeal to a wide variety of audiences while making an original contribution to textile scholarship.”

Given annually by the Textile Society of America (TSA) to a publication judged to be the best book in the field of ethnic textile studies, the R. L. Shep Ethnic Textiles Book Award is funded by an endowment established by R. L. Shep in 2000. The purpose of this award is to encourage the study and understanding of textile traditions by recognizing and rewarding exceptional scholarship that clearly communicates its subject, fostering appreciation for the field of textiles. Books are reviewed by the R. L. Shep Award Committee, an independent committee appointed by TSA, this year chaired by Cecilia Anderson, with members Michele Hardy and Sarah Fee.

Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Aliʻi is available at Bishop Museum’s Shop Pacifica. For orders call (808) 848-4158 or email shop@bishopmuseum.org.

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About Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum:

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a royal descendant of King Kamehameha I. Bishop Museum is proud to be recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens. In total, Bishop Museum’s collections consist of more than 25 million items, including over 22 million biological specimens and more than two million cultural artifacts derived from a legacy of research spanning more than 125 years. These collections also include more than 115,000 historical publications, and one million historical photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings, and manuscripts. More than 300,000 people visit the Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren. For more information, please visit www.BishopMuseum.org, follow @BishopMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, become a fan of Bishop Museum on Facebook, visit Bishop Museum’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/BishopMuseum, or call (808) 847-3511.

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