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Various Articles, at Nootka Sound


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Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAI4164
Description 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. John Webber was the artist on Cook’s third voyage from 1776-1780. Cook's traveled to Nootka Sound (King George's Sound), Vancouver Island, on the north-west coast of America between March 29-April 26th, 1778. The Nootka people showed great variety and artistry in their weapons, canoes, and facial ornamentation. Here, this engraving shows representations of animals that served as decoys. This shows two Nootkan wood bird masks, a bird rattle, and an Alaskan seal decoy helmet. Of the Nootkan masks Cook wrote: "The men on some occasions wore masks of which they have many and of various sorts such as the human face, the head of birds and other animals, the most of them both well designed and executed. Whether these masks are worn as an ornament in their public entertainments, or as some thought, to guard the face against the arrows of the enimy, or as decoys in hunting, I shall not pretend to say; probably on all these occasions." Of the rattle Cook comments: "The rattles are for the most part made in the shape of a bird, which a few pebble stones in the belly and the tail is the handle, they have however others that bear rather more resemblence to a childs rattle." An actual bird-form rattle which might have served Webber for his drawing is preserved in the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasglow. Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4163, PAI4165-PAI4214.; Page 208.; Plate No. 40.
Date made 1778

Artist/Maker Webber, John
Record, James
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Sheet: 400 x 570 mm; Plate: 200 x 275 mm
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