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Life in the Pacific of the 1700s: the Cook/Forster Collection of the Georg August University of Göttingen. Exhibition Guide Little, Stephen and Ruthenberg, Peter. 2006

 

Carr 1983Life in the Pacific of the 1700s: the Cook/Forster Collection of the Georg August University of Göttingen. Exhibition Guide
By Stephen Little and Peter Ruthenberg, and published in 2006 by Honolulu Academy of Arts. ISBN 0-937426-72-5

In the spring of 2006, I was in Honolulu with my family on our way to the big island of Hawaii with a four-hour lay over. This was fortunate as it gave us enough time to grab a taxi to get to the Honolulu Academy of Art to see the exhibit "Life in the Pacific of the 1700's" [see Cook's Log, pages 13 and 31, vol. 29, no. 2 (2006)]. The exhibit guide and boxed set of essays, etc., were not available at the time, and when they were I had trouble ordering online, so I decided to get only the guide, and phoned the gift shop.

It is pocket-sized at only 18cm by 12cm, but its 192 pages are packed with many, many colour photographs of the artefacts on display and some paintings.

The exhibit was fabulous, but photography was not allowed. This book is not only a reminder of the exhibit but also a great reference guide. As a collector of Captain Cook on stamps I was delight-ed to see images of artefacts in the book that appear on postage stamps, such as the Mourning Dress that appears on French Polynesia 60f stamp of 1968 [see Cook's Log, page 113, vol. 4, no. 2 (1981)].

There are three prologues, dealing with William Hodges, Sydney Parkinson and John Webber. The body of the book is the Cook/Forster exhibit broken down into categories, such as clothing, mats, barkcloth, ritual, fishing and hunting. The notes about their use, the culture, materials and Cook related anecdotes are great.

Reviewer: James Corbet

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 44, volume 31, number 1 (2008).

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