John Webber (After)

Poulaho, King of the Friendly Islands, drinking Kava

Poulaho, King of the Friendly Islands, drinking Kava by John Webber

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Cook and his men observed a kava ceremony at the village of Mu’a on Tongatapu. Paulaho sits in the centre foreground, his back to the spectator with a man kneeling before him. The ceremonial matt depicted behind Paulaho indicates that nobody was allowed to sit behind him. The figure in the centre middleground holds a single cup, referring to the Tongan custom of offering the cup to the king first.

Webber and his contemporaries recorded few interior scenes in the Pacific; consequently, the depiction of the fale and its internal construction in this engraving is of great interest.

(See J&S Vol. III, Text pp.37-8, Cat. 3.55-3.55A)

Title
Poulaho, King of the Friendly Islands, drinking Kava
Artist/creator
Production date
1784
Medium
engraving on paper
Dimensions
269 x 413 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2007
Accession no
2007/29/5
Copyright
Copyright Expired
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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