Pacific Encounters: Art & Divinity in Polynesia 1760-1860

Author: Steven Hooper
Publication date: May 2006
NZ RRP (incl. GST): $49.99
Extent: 272 pp
Illustrations: 250 full-colour plates, 20+ black-and-white images
Format: 276mm x 219mm
Binding: PB
ISBN: 978-1-877385-20-9

Out of print

Pacific Encounters brings together for the first time many stunning Polynesian objects gathered during the 18th and 19th centuries, where Pacific people first made contact with European voyagers, missionaries and settlers.

The book presents over 250 items with short captions, including sculptures in wood and stone, feather and basketry images, feather cloaks, wood bowls, decorated bark cloths, ornaments and valuables of ivory, shell, bone and nephrite. Objects come from across the Pacific – from the Society Islands (Tahiti), Austral Islands, Cook Islands, Marquesas Islands, Hawaii, Easter Island, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Three introductory essays place the objects in their cultural and historical contexts, and give information on the role, meaning and interpretation of Polynesian art and material culture, the history of the collection of this material by missionaries, traders and explorers (Cook et al.), and its place in museums today. Essays are illustrated with maps and archival pictures (including paintings, engravings from Cook’s Voyages and missionary publications).

This groundbreaking book conveys the wonder and excitement not only of these rare and valuable objects, but of the cultures and cultural interactions which gave rise to them. Many were collected during the voyages of Cook, Vancouver and other explorers, and by early Christian missionaries, and have remarkable stories to tell.