||Likely drawn by Sydney Parkinson in May 1769. This shows a tupapow, or shed, under which dead bodies were laid to rest in Otaheite in the South Pacific. Otaheite was originally named Port Royal Harbour in King George the Third's Island by Captain Samuel Wallis (1728-1795). Sydney Parkinson (a Scottish landscape artist on Captain James Cook's first Endeavor voyage from 1768-1771) made field studies of plants and animal species that were then engraved to be included in John Hawkesworth's Voyages (an account of the journeys by Captain Cook, Vice Admiral John Byron, and Joseph Banks published on behalf of the Admirality in 1773).
From the journal: 'In walking through the woods we saw the corpse of a man laid out on a sort of bier, which had an awning over it of mats, supported by four sticks; a square piece of gound around it was railed in with bamboos, and the body was covered with cloth,' Captain 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.
This is the first of two such etchings. Mounted in album with PAI3938-PAI3966, PAI3968-PAI4076.; Page 26.