Image: Heva Mourning Dress, Society Islands
Heva Mourning Dress, Society Islands.
- © Australian Museum
In the Society Islands, French Polynesia, the death of a chief or person of distinction was accompanied by the performance of a ceremony called a heva, which was paid for and organised by the family of the deceased.
The principal mourner wore a particular form of mourning attire consisting of a parae (mask), a fa'aupo'o (headdress), an ahu-parau (breast ornament) of pearl shell, and a cloth or plant fibre skirt. This person carried a paeho (a shark's tooth weapon) in one hand and a tete (a pearl shell clapper) in the other and led the funeral procession.