Fighting Fibres

Kiribati Armour and Museum Collections

Edited by Julie Adams, Polly Bence and Alison Clark | 2018

Fighting Fibres

Kiribati Armour and Museum Collections

Edited by Julie Adams, Polly Bence and Alison Clark | 2018

ISBN: 9789088905650

Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 182x257mm | 202 pp. | Pacific Presences 2 | Language: English | 25 illus. (bw) | 260 illus. (fc) | Category: anthropology, art history, museum studies, Kiribati, Micronesia, Pacific island studies, arms and armour, conservation, heritage | download cover

This book brings together artists, curators, researchers and conservators to consider the significance of coconut fibre armour from the islands of Kiribati. Taking as its focus the armour found in museum collections, it investigates the historical context that led to these unique artefacts leaving the Pacific and entering the orbit of British collectors and institutions, as well the legacies of those practices in the present.

As well as exploring the historical milieux surrounding its collection, the book includes essays from expert conservators that discuss the challenges of caring for coconut fibre armour. Other contributions include case studies focusing on the construction and variety of the armour and helmets, and the findings of a comprehensive survey which has tracked down and documented every piece of Kiribati armour held in UK museum collections. Finally, the book considers the significance of coconut fibre armour in the present, with particular reference to the work of a group of I-Kiribati artists whose creativity and innovative research has led to the production of a contemporary suit of armour inspired by the armour of the past.

This books is part of the Pacific Presences series. Click here to see the other volumes in this series.

List of figures
Biographies
Preface
Introduction

1. Introduction: Fighting Fibres
Julie Adams

2. Adventures in Collecting: A Survey of Coconut Fibre Armour in UK Museums
Polly Bence

3. Te Tanga: Contextualising the Kiribati Cuirass
Alison Clark

4. Protection, Status or Intimidation? A Typology of Kiribati Helmets in UK Collections
Polly Bence

5. ‘Bob, a native of Tarawa, Kingsmill Group, Aged 18’
Alison Clark

6. Conserving Kiribati Armour
Rachel Howie

7. Weapons from Kiribati
Alison Clark and Rhian Ward

8. The Fibres That Connect Us: An Interview

9. Collector Biographies
Kate Adams, Polly Bence, Alison Clark and Geoff Rubenstein

10. Catalogue

Endnotes
Bibliography
Acknowledgements

Dr. Julie Adams

Julie Adams is Curator of the Oceania collections at The British Museum. For the last decade she has curated, researched and written on the histories of Pacific collections in European museums. From 2011-2015, she was Senior Research Fellow at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge and was editor of Artefacts of Encounter: Cook’s Voyages, Colonial Collecting and Museum Histories published by Otago University Press in 2016.

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Polly Bence

Polly Bence has worked in the curatorial team in the Oceanic section of the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, at the British Museum since 2011. Over the last five years as the Project Curator, Oceanic collections, she has been preparing the Oceanic collection for a move into the World Conservation and Exhibition Centre – a new onsite collections store facility in Bloomsbury.

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Dr. Alison Clark

Alison Clark is a Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Both her masters (2007) and PhD (2013) theses were on the Indigenous Australian collections at the British Museum. Her current research is focused on Kiribati, where she is interested in the contemporary resonance of historic museum collections, and the revival of certain cultural practices. She has previously worked on projects at the British Museum, and the October Gallery in London.

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Abstract:

This book brings together artists, curators, researchers and conservators to consider the significance of coconut fibre armour from the islands of Kiribati. Taking as its focus the armour found in museum collections, it investigates the historical context that led to these unique artefacts leaving the Pacific and entering the orbit of British collectors and institutions, as well the legacies of those practices in the present.

As well as exploring the historical milieux surrounding its collection, the book includes essays from expert conservators that discuss the challenges of caring for coconut fibre armour. Other contributions include case studies focusing on the construction and variety of the armour and helmets, and the findings of a comprehensive survey which has tracked down and documented every piece of Kiribati armour held in UK museum collections. Finally, the book considers the significance of coconut fibre armour in the present, with particular reference to the work of a group of I-Kiribati artists whose creativity and innovative research has led to the production of a contemporary suit of armour inspired by the armour of the past.

This books is part of the Pacific Presences series. Click here to see the other volumes in this series.

Contents

List of figures
Biographies
Preface
Introduction

1. Introduction: Fighting Fibres
Julie Adams

2. Adventures in Collecting: A Survey of Coconut Fibre Armour in UK Museums
Polly Bence

3. Te Tanga: Contextualising the Kiribati Cuirass
Alison Clark

4. Protection, Status or Intimidation? A Typology of Kiribati Helmets in UK Collections
Polly Bence

5. ‘Bob, a native of Tarawa, Kingsmill Group, Aged 18’
Alison Clark

6. Conserving Kiribati Armour
Rachel Howie

7. Weapons from Kiribati
Alison Clark and Rhian Ward

8. The Fibres That Connect Us: An Interview

9. Collector Biographies
Kate Adams, Polly Bence, Alison Clark and Geoff Rubenstein

10. Catalogue

Endnotes
Bibliography
Acknowledgements

Dr. Julie Adams

Julie Adams is Curator of the Oceania collections at The British Museum. For the last decade she has curated, researched and written on the histories of Pacific collections in European museums. From 2011-2015, she was Senior Research Fellow at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge and was editor of Artefacts of Encounter: Cook’s Voyages, Colonial Collecting and Museum Histories published by Otago University Press in 2016.

read more

Polly Bence

Polly Bence has worked in the curatorial team in the Oceanic section of the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, at the British Museum since 2011. Over the last five years as the Project Curator, Oceanic collections, she has been preparing the Oceanic collection for a move into the World Conservation and Exhibition Centre – a new onsite collections store facility in Bloomsbury.

read more

Dr. Alison Clark

Alison Clark is a Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Both her masters (2007) and PhD (2013) theses were on the Indigenous Australian collections at the British Museum. Her current research is focused on Kiribati, where she is interested in the contemporary resonance of historic museum collections, and the revival of certain cultural practices. She has previously worked on projects at the British Museum, and the October Gallery in London.

read more









© 2016 Sidestone Press      KvK nr. 28114891