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Panpipes mimiha

Panpipes mimiha

Place: Tonga
Category: Music & play

bamboo, plant fibre, Tonga, l. 15–22.5 cm, w. 8.5 cm, Inv. Oz 158

Forster Register B.14: ‘2 long flutes und 2 panpipes’ (= Oz 157)

Humphrey No. 225: ‘a Reed-pipe or Organ, somewhat like the ancient Shepherd’s or pan’s pipe, from the Friendly Isles.’(= Oz 158)

Oz 157 is made of bamboo and consists of nine single pipes bound together with three wrappings. The pipes vary in length and are arranged so that the open ends make up one row. Oz 158 is similar to Oz 157. However, it consists of ten single pipes bound together with two wrappings.

Cook (in Beaglehole 1961, II 273) described the panpipes as ‘an Organ made of ten or eleven small reeds or pipes’. The single pipes differed in length and were ‘bound together side by side’ with the open ends being in one row (Cook in Beaglehole 1961, II: 272). Forster (1989, I: 362) noted that they were made of nine or ten pipes and were bound together with coconut fibre. A panpipe produced four or five different sounds. Kaeppler (1978a: 230) agreed that the panpipes collected on Cook’s voyages usually feature either nine or ten pipes made of bamboo. Ferdon (1987: 196) speculated that the panpipe ‘seems never to have been really accepted as a musical instrument.’ He added that they were no longer mentioned after 1793. Inken Köhler, Ulrike Rehr, Gundolf Krüger


Beaglehole, John Cawte, The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery. The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure 1772-1775, Hakluyt Society, Extra Series, 35, vol. 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1955-1961 II.

Ferdon, Edwin N, Early Tonga, As the Explorers Saw It, Tucson, 1987.

Forster, Georg, Reise um die Welt, 2 Teile, in Georg Steiner (ed.), Georg Forsters Werke (2 und 3), Sämtliche Schriften, Tagebücher, Briefe, herausgegeben von der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, [1777] 1989.

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.

Related artefacts

Panpipes mimiha, Inv. Oz 157


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