Summary

This armour is made and used in the Republic of Kiribati in the Gilbert Islands group. The islanders depend for their livelihood primarily on coconuts, pandanus and the products of the sea, and disagreements that were once common were often settled by armed combat between two warriors. Young boys, from an early age, were instructed in the arts of war, in particular how to handle swords and knives, the edges of which were lined with sharks' teeth. Special clothing made from coconut fibre and woven into a suit of armour protected the combatants. It was worn with a helmut made of the dried skin of a Puffer Fish and dried shark and ray skin provided protection for other exposed parts of the body.

Physical Description

A woven garment made of dyed and undyed coconut fibre. It has an upright extension at the back and a hole for the head to pass through, and wraps around at the sides and is secured by a length of fibre. The patterning made created by the use of red dyed fibre and consists of three vertical columns of diamond motifs and vertical bands.

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