- Museum number
Wooden bowl with two carved figures, made of kou wood, pearl-shell and cut sections of boar's tusks (twenty-six at the front, twenty-four at the back). This bowl was probably made and used for drinking kava.
- Production date
- 18thC(mid)-18thC late (before 1778)
Height: 24.50 centimetres
Length: 49.80 centimetres
Width: 30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Register slip comment:
'Figures in Ratzel "Volkerkunde" II.172 & Album", plate 58.
A sculptural tour de force, probably in highly valued kou wood (Jenkins, I., 1989, 'The Hawaiian calabash, London: Kegan Paul: 63, 71-8), the circular bowl is supported by a complete figure behind and a part figure at the front. The mouths of each figure are furnished with cut sections of boar's tusks (twenty-six at the front, twenty-four at the back). Two channels are carved through the sides of the bowl, one through the front of the mouth, the other through the chest of the rear figure and out at the anus. The mode of use of this bowl is not known, but it was almost certainly for 'awa (kava; see no.25). Cook recorded that a chief of great sanctity sought out Clerke on the Discovery off Kaua'i to present to him 'a large Cava bowl, that was supported by two car[v]ed men, neither ill-designed nor executed.' Bayly added that Clerke gave him in return 'a little piece of red bay's [baize] and some other trifles' (Beaglehole, J.C. (eds), 1967, 'The journals of Captain James Cook on his voyages of discovery', 4 vols in 5. Cambridge University Press, published for the Hakluyt Society (Extra Series, 34-7: 281). Whether the bowl was made on Kaua'i is uncertain, since things of value circulated by exchange, as the presentation to Clerke demonstrated.
- On display (G2/fc157)
- Exhibition history
1975 – 1985 12 Dec-23 Jun, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Hawaii
1979 – 1980 15 Feb-29 Sept, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Captain Cook in the South Seas (temporarily removed from Museum of Mankind, Hawaii exhibition 1975 – 1985)
1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.229
1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.229
1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.229
1997-1998 25 Sep-27 Jan, Osaka, National Museum of Ethnology, Images of Other Cultures
1998 11 Feb-12 Apr, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Images of Other Cultures
2006 21 May-13 Aug, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Pacific Encounters
2006-2007 28 Sept-7 Jan, London, BM, Power and Taboo
2008 16 Jun-14 Sep, Paris, Musée du quai Branly, Pacific Encounters
2009 28 Aug-2010 28 Feb, Bonn, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific
2010 10 May-13 Sept, Vienna, Museum of Ethnology, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific
2010-2011 7 Oct-13 Feb, Bern, Historical Museum, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific
2014 Oct 14-London, BM, G2, 'Collecting the World'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Collected during Cook's 3rd voyage 1776-1780.
Hooper 2006: Donated 1780 by Sir Joseph Banks; given to Captain Charles Clerke by a chief of Kaua'i on 23 January 1778. Clerke, who became commander of the third voyage after Cook's death in February 1779, himself died in July 1779, leaving his collection to Banks.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Oc17??D6.46 (old CDMS no.)