Otaheite: Dancing girl and Chief mourner

Description

The drawing on the left shows a woman dancing. She is wearing a tamau or headdress made from plaited hair; black feathers below her shoulders and a white skirt. The drawing on the right shows the costume of the Chief Mourner, who officiated at Tahitian funeral ceremonies. Each part of his sacred regalia had a symbolic meaning and when dressed he had the power to ‘galvanise’ the gods in order to help the deceased into Rohutu-no‘ano‘a, the Arioi’s paradise.

Full title:
Drawings illustrative of Captain Cook's first voyage, 1768 -1770, chiefly relating to Otaheite and New Zealand, by A. Buchan, John F. Miller, and others.
Created:
1769, Tahiti
Format:
Drawing
Creator:
Tupaia
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 15508, f.9

Full catalogue details

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Tupaia the navigator, priest and artist

Article by:
Professor Dame Anne Salmond, Huw Rowlands
Themes:
People of the Pacific, The voyages

Dame Anne Salmond and Huw Rowlands discuss the impact of the navigator-priest Tupaia on the Endeavour voyage of James Cook.

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