Q: The Hawaiian mask and rattle are a rare find, although obviously made in the last few years. I’ve been to Hawaii many times and never seen an authentic gourd war mask for sale. Aaron, 791
A: We are fortunate that Aaron shares his recent mask purchases with us. This is a very realistic reproduction of a Polynesian warrior’s helmet mask made out of gourd. We know exactly what they looked like because of early engravings made by artists who traveled with the explorers. Smaller versions made out of coconut shells and other materials are made to be souvenirs for tourists, but not these full-size gourd versions. Like most Polynesian artifacts, these real ones disappeared after Cook and other explorers started depositing missionaries around the Pacific region to stamp out traditional customs and religion.