Through May 14, 2006, The Honolulu Academy of Arts is presenting a comprehensive exhibition of some 500 Oceanic art objects entitled Life in the Pacific of the 1700s: The Cook/Forster Collection of the Georg August University of Göttingen.
- The Academy's web site features a slide show with 68 images from the exhibition.
- The Academy will publish a full-color catalogue to document the exhibited works, and a compact printed guide to the exhibition.
From the Academy's web site:
This exhibition represents the most comprehensive presentation of eighteenth century cultural objects from the Pacific ever presented in Hawai‘i or the Pacific. These amazing works, made largely before Cook’s contact with the indigenous cultures, are extraordinary for their inherent beauty, craftsmanship, and unique mana (spiritual power). The works are significant as well because they were given as gifts to or traded with Cook from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific ...
The museum at Göttingen became the first-known
ethnographic museum in the world in 1770–71. The museum’s first
director, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840), was the first to use
objects from the Pacific Ocean as authentic materials in his lectures.
In ensuing years, the Cook/Forster Collection was visited and studied
by such famous natural scientists as Johann Wolfgang Goethe and
Alexander von Humboldt. In the early 1900s, a group of objects was
given from Göttingen to the newly erected Lower Saxony State Museum in
Hanover. Thanks to the generous cooperation of this museum, the two
parts of the collection will be reunited for the first time in many
years in Honolulu. The Academy has hired Gerry Barton, a conservator
from New Zealand working in Germany, to provide appropriate
conservation treatment of the collections.