Otaheite: Dancing girl and Chief mourner


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.
1769, Tahiti
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Add MS 15508, f.9

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