||This engraving after a drawing by John Webber comes from the official account of Cook's third voyage, 'A voyage to the Pacific Ocean', published by Scatcherd and Whitaker in 1784.
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) made three separate voyages to the Pacific (with the ships Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery) and did more than any other voyager to explore the Pacific and Southern Ocean. Cook not only encountered Pacific cultures for the first time, but also assembled the first large-scale collections of Pacific objects to be brought back to Europe. He was killed in Hawaii in 1779.
Cook was in Nomuka (Annamooka), Tonga or Friendly Isles from May 1-14, 1777.
Among the highlights of the stay at Tonga were the night dances, or heivas. The first one was presented by Finau (Feenough), a powerful local chieftain, on 20 May. The entertainment consisted of dances by men and women supported by a band of eighteen musicias. Among them were 'four or five' who 'had pieces of large bamboo from three to five or six feet long, with the close end of which the[y] kept constantly beating the ground.'
The first to enter the circle of spectators were the women. Their heads were adorned with garlands of the hibiscus flower. During their carefully choreographed dance they encircled the chorus of musicians a number of times while moving their hands and bodies rhythmically to the music.
Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4138, PAI4140-PAI4214.; Page 183.; Plate No. 17.