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Record Image

Registration Number: QE11493

Name or Title: Dance headdress - Gainau (pigeon)

Classification: CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ceremonial object
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander head ornament

Brief Description: Gainau (pigeon) dance headdress, headdress features a model Torres Strait Gainau (pigeon) mounted on two strips of metal which connect it to a decorated, circular metal band. The band is positioned on the dancer's head. The band is green and encircled by a geometric design featuring connected diamond-shaped etchings. The bird is predominately white with black highlights on the wing tips, tail and beak. String is attached to both wing tips, which is pulled on by the dancer to imitate flight.

Collection: Oceanic Anthropology

Production Place: Torres Strait/Queensland/Australia

Production Date: 01 Jan 1989-01 May 1989

Materials: Wood, cane, string

Measurement : H398 x W362mm

State/Province: Queensland

Country: Australia

History and Use: This is a Gainau (pigeon) dance headdress from the Boigu Island in the Torres Strait. String, attached to both wing tips, is pulled on by the dancer to imitate flight.

Dance is the most visible expression of Torres Strait Islander culture. It is a serious activity, offering prestige and standing.

Torres Strait Island dance, Ailan Dans, is energetic, and derived from traditional ceremonial dance and Pacific Island dance introduced by South Sea Islander mission teachers. Themes often imitate daily domestic activity and reflect island, maritime and celestial environments.

New dance songs continue to be composed and older songs are updated with new choreography. Today, most dances are performed at community events, cultural festivals such as the Coming of The Light, or at the dedication of tombstones.

This object can be viewed in Dandiiri Maiwar, on level 4 of the Queensland Museum Southbank.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.

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