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Hawaiian King's Bed
[Kona Kings Bed]

[Kona Kings Bed Crest]

[Kona Kings Bed Valence]

[Kona Kings Bedpost]

[Kona King Bed]
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[Kona Kings Bed]

Aiea, Hawaii. The original of this elegant and extravagant 4-poster bed is in Hulilee Palace Museum in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. It was commissioned in 1903 from the Honolulu Steam Planing Mill for the Hawaiian Prince and Princess Kawananakoa, and was carved by a German craftsman Frank N. Otremba. The original bed was built of solid curly koa, an Hawaiian acacia variety, with Hawaiian kauila wood posts that previously served as cornerposts at the home of high chiefess Ruth Keelikolani. Almost every surface of the bed is covered by carving - trailing maile ginger leaves, vines, berries, bananas, pineapples, ilima and maile leis, taro leaves, seashells, crustacean forms, and the Hawaiian Royal Crest and coat of arms.

I was asked to replicate this bed, and with great effort and study I drew upon historic and contemporary photographs in various collections, as well as viewing the original in the museum. Kauila wood is now extinct and koa wood is a protected species. I needed to replace the kauila with American black walnut, but managed to obtain sufficient curly koa to build the remainder. Ultimately, I was to build two replicas of Kawananakoa’s koa bed, one king- and the other queen-size.