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Bow fana

Bow fana

Place: Tahiti & Society Islands
Category: Ritual

wood, Tahiti and the Society Islands, l. 151.5 cm, d. 3.1 cm (max.), Inv. Am 2

Forster Register A.6: ‘2 bows made of white wood from Tierra del Fuego’

The simple bow made of brown light wood is slightly curved. The bow is oval in cross-section and is cut roughly and unevenly at the front in the direction of fire so that lower-lying, light brown layers of wood are visible. It tapers towards the ends to become circular in cross-section. The string is missing. The shape of the bow, the colour of the wood, and the light weight of the objects Am 2 and Am 3 correspond perfectly to the type of bow found in the Society Islands. With respect to the file cards Am 2 and Am 3, Feest noted: ‘The two bows originally attributed to the Fuegians (cf. Kaeppler 1978a: 279) lack the characteristic, triangular cross-section of most of the Fuegian bows (Joppien and Smith 1985-88, I: 84f., 91f., Nos. 1.7, 1.9, 16f.; cf. Gusinde 1931-75, I: 230-34, Fig. 31; Rydén 1965: 94-96; Cooper 1917: 207-13). With a length of approximately 150 cm, they are also longer than the Yaghan bows described by G. Forster (‘rather small, shapeless and made from a type of Berberis wood’) would lead us to expect (G. Forster 1966, II: 382). They probably originated in Tahiti (cf. e.g. Beaglehole 1962, I: PI. 22a; Kaeppler 1978a: 144f.).’ Gundolf Krüger

Sources

Beaglehole, John Cawte, The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery. The Voyage of the Endeavour 1768-1771, Hakluyt Society, Extra Series, 34, vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1955-1968 I.

Cooper, John M, Analytical and Critical Bibliography of the Tribes of Tierra del Fuego and Adjacent Territory, Bulletin 63, Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1917.

Forster, Georg, Reise um die Welt, 2 Teile, George Forsters Werke (2 und 3) Samtliche Schriften, Tagebücher, Briefe, hrsg. von der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR, Berlin 1966.

Forster, Georg, Reise um die Welt, 2 Teile, George Forsters Werke (2 und 3) Samtliche Schriften, Tagebücher, Briefe, hrsg. von der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR, Berlin 1966.

Gusinde, Martin, Die Feuerland-Indianer, 1: Die Selk’nam. 2: Die Yamana. 3/1: Die Halakwulup. 3/2: Anthropologie der Feuerland-Indianer, Mödling bei Wien, 1931-1975.

Joppien, Rudiger and Smith, Bernard, The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages, 3 vols in 4 parts, New Haven and London, 1985-1988.

Kaeppler, Adrienne L, ‘Artificial Curiosities’ Being An Exposition of Native Manufactures Collected on the Three Pacific Voyages of Captain James Cook RN [Exhibition catalogue], Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1978a.

Rydén, Stig, The Banks Collection: An Episode in 18th Century Anglo-Swedish Relations, The Ethnographical Museum of Sweden Stockholm Monograph Series, no. 8, Goteborg, 1965.

Related artefacts

Bow fana, Inv. Am 3