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Hale Pulelehua
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Implement/Instrument Name:
Click to hear the pronunciation
Ki`i (Doll or puppet)

Published Research Sources: 
Hawaiian Dictionary (Puku`i/Elbert)
- "Ki`i" is listed as a noun and its meanings relevant to this context include image, statue, likeness, idol, and doll.

Nä Mele Hula volume 1 (Beamer)
- Volume I contains a Hula Ki`i on pages 72-73, "Ke Ha`a Ala Puna." Beamer does not identify it as a Hula Ki`i, but dances it as such. (Click her name at the bottom of this webpage to find out much more about the ki`i and see her using it in a hula.)

Unwritten Literature of Hawai`i (Emerson)
- Chapter XI "The Hula Ki`i" gives great detail on specific images - names, the stories associated with them, what they looked like. Ones named are Maile Pakaha, Nihiaumoe, Ki`iki`i, Puapuakea, Makakü, Mailelauli`i, Kü, Kiniki`i, and Ho`oleheleheki`i.

Hula Pahu volume 1 (Kaeppler)
- Page 15, Chapter 1 notes that an 1886 newspaper article described ki`i (puppets) as performing ha`a (bent-knee stance). It also explains "proper use" of the term "hula ki`i" to be "a dance in which humans imitate the postures of carved images."

Papa Kuhikuhi (Kaläkaua's Coronation Program)
- In Kaläkaua's extensive Coronation program of over 200 presentations, ki`i appeared four times under the section by Kumu Hula Ehu Keohohina. It is not clear if ki`i were used, or the dancers themselves imitated ki`i.

Hula: Historical Perspectives (Barrere/Puku`i/Kelly)
- Historical accounts are noted: pg 14 "dance of the marionettes," pg 26 "idol dance," pgs 62-63 (Kamakau's account which notes that Hula Ki`i were among types danced by the chiefs), and pgs 81-82 (background on Kaua`i's Hula Ki`i and a chant example).

Additional Notes :
Ki`i in hula take many shapes, forms, and sizes. Ki`i appear in very diverse forms and sizes, including finger puppets, hand puppets, marionette-type figures, and larger more life-size representations.

Ki`i have a long and varied history in hula as evidenced in the numerous documented accounts of their use. See "Hula Ki`i" in the Ancient Hula Types section of the Library and the Published Sources section of this page for the details of such accounts. The book "Hula Ki`i" offers in-depth research into this interesting art form in Hawaiian culture.

Below are color photos of a ki`i made by Kumu Hula John Keola Lake for Kumu Hula and ki`i enthusiast Nona Beamer. The ki`i represents Hi`iaka, Pele's youngest sister, and Auntie Nona uses it in the chant "Ke Ha`a Ala Puna" where Hi`iaka first learned to hula. (See Chant section of the Library to see this ki`i in action.)

Please see "Published Sources" section above for greater detail on where to find documented research on this Implement.

Please also consult the "Kupuna" section at bottom to read and hear what our elders have to share.

Front view of Ki`i made by John Keola Lake
Closer view of Ki`i made of paper mache and shells
Raffia hair of the Ki`i representing Hi`iaka, Pele's sister
Ki`i seated

Related Hula Types
Hula Ki`i (Dance with/as an image)
Hula Pele (Dance for Pele and family)

Related Chants
Ke Ha`a Ala Puna (Puna is dancing)

Related Küpuna
Beamer, Nona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha
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