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Our current issue of Tuhinga. Topics include the Pink and White Terraces, gadfly petrel colonies, analysing Māori taonga, and three articles on art.
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Floating world at Te Papa: the Heriot collection
by David Bell
A review of the distribution and size of gadfly petrel (Pterodroma spp.) colonies throughout New Zealand
by Colin M. Miskelly, Dafna Gilad, Graeme A. Taylor, Alan J.D. Tennyson, and Susan M. Waugh
Relocating the Pink and White Terraces of Lake Rotomahana, New Zealand: resolving the ‘battle of the maps’
by George Hook and Stephen P. Carey
Excavation of a twelfth-century prepared-core prismatic-blade workshop at Oturehua, Central Otago, New Zealand
by B.F. Leach and H.M. Leach
A drawing attributed to the Dutch painter, draughtsman and print designer Maarten van Heemskerck (1498–1574) was acquired in 1973 by Melvin Day, director of the then National Art Gallery of New Zealand. The sheet presents several studies after antique sculpture, supposedly dating from 1532–36/37, when the artist was in Rome. This article focuses on a figure represented at the top of the recto of the sheet, a reclining male nude that is illustrated twice, seen from slightly different angles. In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the object was located in the courtyard of Casa Maffei in Rome. The sculpture – often referred to as Endymion – later travelled to Venice, Verona and Munich, where it resides today. Executed in Rome, probably in the first century CE, it was recognised at the end of the sixteenth century as a replica of a piece forming part of a fourth-century BCE group representing Queen Niobe of Thebes and her sons. Three other copies of the same subject are known, currently located in Florence, Dresden and Turin. The article discusses similarities and differences between the replicas, as well as their individual stories, with the aim of understanding how the model was read and interpreted when it was depicted on the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa sheet.
In 1979, Rüdiger Joppien published a detailed study of the 1785 pantomime Omai, or, A Trip round the World. This included analysis of the surviving drawings for costumes and props, in which Joppien grappled with the question of attribution to either Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg or John Webber. While revisiting Joppien’s thoughts on attribution, and his observations on stylistic differences in particular, this article focuses on new evidence concerning aspects of the drawings that have not previously been discussed. This includes a contemporary depiction of one of the actors apparently in costume, the watermarks in the sheets and the inscriptions found on the drawings. A close analysis of the latter suggests the complex working relationship between the two artists, the exact nature of which remains undeciphered at this time. Finally, a new provenance for the majority of the drawings is proposed in place of that put forward by Rüdiger Joppien and Bernard Smith in their 1985–87 survey of works of art connected to Captain Cook’s voyages.
This article examines Edo period (1603–1868) Japanese artworks acquired by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa from the Ian and Mary Heriot collection in 2016. It situates its commentary on these works of art in the context of the emergence of a new, affluent, educated middle class and a new ‘floating world’ sensibility that favoured the enjoyment of literature, visual and decorative arts, kabuki theatre and the teahouses, restaurants and pleasures of the Yoshiwara licensed brothel district of Edo, the city we know today as Tokyo. It constructs a historical narrative for the broader development of ukiyo-e ‘floating world pictures’ from the crystallisation of the polychrome nishiki-e ‘brocade picture’ woodblock print, through to the theatricality of later Utagawa school kabuki prints. Within this narrative, it also acknowledges the emergence of specialist pictorial categories of bijin-ga pictures of beautiful women, manga collections of informal drawings, kabuki theatre themes and actor prints, deluxe limited-edition surimono prints, allusive genre scenes and poetic mitate-e ‘parody pictures’. This account also embraces period works outside the normal Edo focus of ukiyo-e, works from Ōsaka and Yokohama, and monochrome compositions from the Kanō school painters. Finally, these narratives situate the diversity of the Heriots’ Edo-period works against the broad purvey of recurrent threads of interest in collecting Japanese art through several generations in New Zealand.
Rodrigo B. Salvador
The malacological collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (NMNZ), despite naturally focusing on New Zealand species, also includes a variety of specimens from South America. Examination of this material revealed new distributional data for several species. All Brazilian, Uruguayan and Argentinian terrestrial gastropods from the NMNZ collection were examined and reidentified (no material from Paraguay was found). The information gathered was compiled and is presented in this article, and may contain significant data for malacologists working with the region’s fauna. In summary, 99 species are reported, 13 of which represent new records and meaningful increments in geographical distribution, either extending their known range or filling distributional gaps. Moreover, the NMNZ collection houses the type material of six species from Brazil and Argentina described by the New Zealand malacologist Henry Suter (1841–1918) in 1900.
Colin M. Miskelly, Dafna Gilad, Graeme A. Taylor, Alan J.D. Tennyson, and Susan M. Waugh
New Zealand is a global centre of diversity for gadfly petrels (family Procellariidae, genus Pterodroma). The 11 extant breeding species include six endemic species (greyfaced petrel Pt. gouldi, Chatham Island täiko/Magenta petrel Pt. magentae, mottled petrel Pt. inexpectata, Chatham petrel Pt. axillaris, Cook’s petrel Pt. cookii and Pycroft’s petrel Pt. pycrofti) and two further species of which more than 90% of the world population breeds in New Zealand (white-naped petrel Pt. cervicalis and black-winged petrel Pt. nigripennis). Within New Zealand, hotspots for Pterodroma species diversity include the Kermadec Islands (three species, none of which is endemic), islands off the northeast coast of the North Island (four species, three of which are endemic to New Zealand, with one endemic to the northeast North Island) and the Chatham Islands (three species, two of which are endemic to both New Zealand and the Chatham Islands). With the exception of the recently colonised soft-plumaged petrel Pt. mollis, all living New Zealand gadfly petrel species have suffered population declines and/or range contractions as a result of predation by introduced mammals (especially feral cats Felis catus and rats Rattus spp.), with nine of these 10 species recently responding positively to pest mammal eradications or species recovery programmes. Population sizes for each species range from about 35 known pairs for Chatham Island täiko to more than 2.8 million pairs for black-winged petrel. Population trends are poorly known for most species, although eight species are considered to be stable or increasing.
George Hook and Stephen P. Carey
The disappearance of Lake Rotomahana’s Pink and White Terraces in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption meant the loss of the ‘eighth natural wonder of the world’. The unique geothermal features were either destroyed or left unrecognisable, and other landmarks were eventually submerged. This led to conflicting opinions on the locations and fates of the terraces. In the current decade, the rediscovery of a pre-eruption geological feature led to a photogrammetric map by Ronald Keam predicting that extant terrace features would be submerged in the lake close to the shore (de Ronde et al. 2016a), while the discovery of a pre-eruption topographical sketch map by Ferdinand von Hochstetter resulted in a counter-claim that the terraces are buried onshore (Bunn & Nolden 2017). The projection of pre-eruption photographic sight lines onto a topographic map led to a third claim that the terrace sites were further offshore and consequently destroyed (Keir 2017). More recently, confirmation of the accuracy of a published map by Hochstetter led to the conclusion that the terrace locations lie within the confines of the current lake (Lorrey & Woolley 2018).
To resolve this ‘battle of the maps’, we assembled a pre-eruption lake panorama and used spatial technology to project the current lake level onto the pre-eruption landscape and to determine terrace bearings. When plotted on a topographic map, those bearings intersect terrace bearings derived from another early photograph, confirming the terrace sites are within the current lake, relatively close to the shoreline. Furthermore, comparison of pre- and post-eruption photographs indicates that while some Pink Terrace features might be extant, this is unlikely to be true of the White Terrace.
B.F. Leach and H.M. Leach
This article describes an excavation of a quarry area and associated workshop, located at Oturehua in Central Otago, for the production of prepared-core prismatic blades made from silcrete using a hard hammer-stone. Of the 290 m2 area laid out, the most instructive part was in an area of 60 m2. Each 1 m square was divided into 25 sub-squares and all finds were recorded by these sub-squares. Of the 14,015 flakes recovered, those heavier than 2 g (n = 6348) were labelled with Indian ink and laid out in their original position on a gridded laboratory floor. Over a 12-month period, flakes were matched and glued together to reconstruct a series of cores to understand the procedures involved in blade-making. Although the focus of the artisans was on producing macro-blades, the lengths of blades produced varied from 33 mm to 230 mm. One small spent nucleus was recovered, which was fluted on all sides and measured 65 mm high. Two charcoal samples from different parts of the site gave median radiocarbon dates of cal. ad 1138 (twigs) and cal. ad 1137 (flecks).
Karyne M. Rogers
A box of unaccessioned New Zealand Māori bone and pounamu (greenstone) taonga (treasures) from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa was investigated using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) to establish the environmental origins (provenance) of its contents in a non-destructive way through trace element analysis. Eighteen unidentified bone taonga underwent pXRF analysis using 37 trace elements, and were classified into marine and terrestrial origins based on strontium concentration. Three taonga that appeared to be pounamu were also compared elementally with genuine pounamu taonga held in the museum to establish their authenticity. Heavy metal residue treatments were found on the surface of all the bone objects analysed, with one item registering levels of arsenic up to 326 ppm and of lead up to 2054 ppm. This highlights the need for routine surface analysis of museum heritage objects and careful handling protocols, not only for object care but also for curatorial health and safety.