Image: Comb, Samoa B9973

Comb, Samoa B9973

Local name: selu tuinga

Provenance: Samoa, Polynesia, Pacific

As the name implies, this comb (selu) is associated with the tuinga headdress made of human hair and worn by those of rank and status during ceremonies and festivals. The comb was used to fluff the hair out at the back and sides.

The use of this wrapped work combined with wrapped twine establishes this as a lashing technique unique to Samoa - the same technique also encountered in the lashing of bamboo walls of the house.

This object came into the Australian Museum’s collection in 1885 when Mrs Hetherington of Sydney sold the Museum 17 Samoan artefacts for 6 pounds.

Description: twenty-one long and thin, light brown coconut leaf mid-ribs prongs forming comb; half of comb held together with woven, thin, dark brown coconut fibre (coir), creating triangular, geometric design; middle part has a 2.5 cm woven band, incorporating multiple rows of blue glass trade beads on both sides.

Height: 0.8cm; Length: 22.3cm; Width: 5.1cm

Emma Furno
© Australian Museum

Last Updated: