Hawaiian Lei Niho Palaoa

Sands Carving Studio


The Lei Niho Palaoa is a Hawaiian neck ornament traditionally worn by ali’i (chiefs) of both sexes. It was traditionally crafted from braided human hair and ivory teeth from stranded whales.

The curved pendant likely represents a stylised tongue, highlighting the importance of speech in chief-related activities. Its crescent shape is crucial for embodying the divine which is also the shape of the chief's protective crested helmet.

It served as a significant symbol worn by Hawaiian nobility, signifying their ancestral connection to the gods.

This piece features an onewa pendant suspended with red glass beads. It was hand-carved and crafted by Alex Sands.