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Man of the Island of Tanna


Object connections:

Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID PAI4092
Description This engraving, after a drawing by artist William Hodges, comes from the official account of Cook's second voyage, 'A Voyage towards the South Pole', published by Strahan and Cadell in 1777. 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. William Hodges (1744 - 1797) joined Cook's second expedition to the South Pacific as a draughtsman 1772-75 and was employed by the Admiralty in finishing his drawings. Cook traveled to Tanna between August 6-20, 1774. As recorded in Hawkesworth's account: "A diagonal bluish stripe is depicted across the forehead and left eye; another across the nose, by rubbing over the chalk with pencil or charcoal. The white patch at the nostril probably represents a foreshortened nose ornament of bone. 'Their hair which is a good deal like what the people of the latter Island [i.e. Malekula] have. The general colours are Black and brown, it grows to a tolerable length and is very crisp and curly: the[y] separate it into small locks and wold or cue them round with the rind of a slender plant down to about an Inch of the ends, and as the hair grows, the wolding is continued. Each of these cues or locks are something thicker than common whip Cord and looks like a parcel or small strings, hanging down from the crown of their heads.' Cook, Journals II, 20 August 1774 'The paints are reserved for the face; they are red ochre, white lime, and a colour shining like black lead; all these they mix with coco-nut oil, and aly on the face in oblique bars, two or three inches broad. The white colour is seldom employed, but the red and black is more frequent, and sometimes each covers on half of the face.' G. Forster, 6 August 1774. 'Dr Stuebe has suggested that this may be a portrait of Paowang (who became friendly to Cook) because of the resemblance to the old man with the white hair in 2.134.' This is the first of two such engravings. Mounted in album with PAI4078-PAI4091, PAI4093-PAI4214.; Page 138.; No. 26.
Date made 16 Jul 1776

Artist/Maker Elder, James Basire the
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials engraving & etching
Measurements Sheet: 540 x 243 mm; Plate: 308 x 348 mm
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