Wednesday, 26 November 2014

New Accessions

Cataloguing of new accession; 2013.57.1

Wooden vessel imitating a calabash. This was a very welcome donation to the Museums collections. The vessel is interesting as it is imitating a Hawaiian calabash. In fact, it is not a calabash at all but a locally turned wooden lidded bowl that was presented to the donor’s grandfather, a British immigrant rancher in Hawaii in 1890.  The Museum did not hold any examples of the 'wooden calabashes' that were produced in Hawaii from the 1840s, and while this is not necessarily a typical example, it is an interesting manifestation of cross-cultural production, both as an example of the production in turned wood of 'traditional' Hawaiian forms and in the way it has been modified by those who presented it, having been adapted into a presentation vessel with cow horn legs. In ‘Little Britain, Letters from the Hawaiian Kingdom (2002)’, which reproduces Ernest Burchardt's letters home to his mother Jane in Liverpool from 1884 - 1891, written by Joan Burchardt, Joan refers to the vessel as such "Before he left Hawaii Ernest was presented with a large calabash, silver mounted on three cow's horn feet, with boar's tusks for handles. This object was much hated by my mother, I regret to say; (mutterings of 'ugly, useless dust-trap')…” The vessel was donated to the Museum with a copy of the published book of letters home and the silver presentation plates now detached from the vessel itself. The main silver presentation plate reads as follows: “ALOA NUI to E A. A. G. Fr. Burchardt Molali Makaaniani Kahauanu of Kahua Ranch Kohala Hawaii For they are jolly good fellows, and so say all of the Kohala Boys July 1890. There is also another plate with a list of the presenters, as follows:- Wm John Brodie, Rev J M Silver, J Maguire, C S Kinnersley, R Wallce, C E Kempster, J O Desborough, H Bryant, G Byrant, F Northrup R H Atkins, J M Smithies, J R Mossman, J S Kay,  C L Wight, J H Mackenzie, A Gunning, A S Spencer, Robert Hall.”

Faye Belsey
Assistant Curator 

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