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A Morai, in Atooi


Object connections:

Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleArtist: Webber, John
Engraver: Lerpiniere, Daniel

Object details:

Object ID PAI3909
Description This engraving is after a drawing by John Webber from John Hawkesworth's account (1773) of the voyages of Captain James Cook, Joseph Banks and Captain John Byron. 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 first visit to Kauai (Atooi) was from January 19-23 1778. A morai was a burial place. Both 'A Morai at Atooi' and 'An Inside of a House showing their Idols' were engraved for the official account, so stressing the importance of places of cult and worship as a major research interest of the voyage. The representation of the temple area as an archeological site is underlined by the walled enclosure and the stony ground. On 21 January 1778, Cook reported: "The Pyramid which they call Henananoo was erected at one end [...] the four sides was built of small sticks and branches, in an open manner and the inside of the pyramid was hollow or open from bottom to top. Some part of it was, or had been covered with a very think light grey cloth, which seemed to be consecrated to religious and ceremonious purposes, as a good deal of it was about this Morai and I had some of it forced upon me at my first landing.On each side and near the Pyrimid, stood erect some rude carved boards, exactly like those in the Morais at Otaheite. At the foot of these were square places, a little sunk below the common level and inclosed with stone, these we understood were graves. About the middle of the morai were three of these places in line, where we were told three chiefs had been buried; before them was another that was oblong, this they called Tanga[ta] taboo and gave us clearly to understand that three human sacrifices has been buried there, that is one at the burial of each chief." Loosely bound in album with PAI3893-PAI3908, PAI3910-PAI3936.; Plate No.33.
Date made 1777

Artist/Maker Webber, John
Lerpiniere, Daniel
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Plate: 268 x 410 mm; Sheet: 390 x 535 mm
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