Discovering Cook's Collections
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Discovering Cook’s Collections focuses on the collections of art and material culture brought back from the Pacific on Captain Cook’s voyages and contains essays by some of the world’s leading and most innovative historians and anthropologists. The book celebrates the richness of Pacific Island cultures in the initial years of European contact as well as the collections’ contemporary relevance to historians and the Indigenous communities who produced them. The essays in this book explore the history of the collections, their dispersal through the museums and private collections of Europe and the different ways in which they have been interpreted over time.
labourers grew. Many artisans came to enjoy incomes that allowed them to furnish their dwellings with a wide range of material goods that traditionally could only be afforded by wealthy merchants and the landed gentry. As Roy Porter has observed, middle-class Britons in the years between 1714 and 1800 took pride in possessing objects, though their materialism was conspicuously outgoing and social: ‘they loved poring over factories, inspecting machinery, peering down microscopes, going to
to invade Papara in late 1768. Tevahitua and his allies among the chiefly families of the north-western districts of the island proved no match for Vehiatua. Tevahitua and Purea fled with their son into the mountains after a bloody clash in which many were slain, and villages in the vicinity of Marae Mahaiatea were looted and burnt. As Banks recorded in his journal, on returning from the marae he took a path following the shoreline ‘where under our feet were numberless human bones cheifly ribbs
in most cases, the collections were dispersed widely in the years following the return of the ships. In a number of cases where objects, such as the heva, could be divided, they were dismembered and the parts sold or gifted separately. Some objects became part of larger collections that were opened for commercial display, such as the Leverian Museum (Holophusikon). Dealers, of whom George Humphrey is the best known, acquired others. As a result of the process of sale and dispersal, many objects
New Zealand, as has been discussed in many contexts, for example by Paul Tapsell (‘Taonga, marae, whenua — negotiating custodianship: A Maori tribal response to the Museum of Auckland’, National Museums: Negotiating Histories: Conference Proceedings, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2001, pp. 112-21). 18 Werner Muensterberger, Collecting: An Unruly Passion: Psychological Perspectives, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1994. 19 Julie Adams, ‘Echoes of empire: Relationships between
past, we often see ourselves. James Cook is us, as we want to be, in our ideals of science and discovery. James Cook is us, as we want to be, in our carefulness for less privileged peoples. James Cook is us, as we want to be, in courage and determination. And James Cook is us as he reflected on what he had done in bringing so many material things to the people of this land who seemed so perfectly content without them. And James Cook is us on what he said was the worst day of his life, the day he