The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

Pacific Art

What is the Kearny Cloak?

The Kearny Cloak is a Hawaiian feathered cape that was given as a gift to King George III of England by Hawaiian King Kamechameha around 1843. The red and yellow cape was made of coconut fiber to which feathers were attached. Worn like a cloak, the garment is known as a Ahu ‘ula (red cloak) due to its color. In Hawaii, red is symbolic of royalty, and feathers were used to decorate luxury, high-status items such as clothing, blankets, and leis, traditional Hawaiian garlands. The status of the Kearny Cloak is tied to the status of the Hawaiian king, and is therefore an appropriate and significant gift for another ruler.


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