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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)
- Poulaho, King of the Friendly Islands, drinking Kava
- Production date
- engraving on paper
- 269 x 413 mm
- Credit line
- Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2007
- Accession no
- No known copyright restrictions
- New Zealand Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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