One of the most well-known images from the earlier issue of Webber’s Views in the South Seas. The body lying in state was that of a young chief by the name of Vehiatua, from the Taiarapu peninsula on the East of the island of Tahiti. He died after a long illness in October 1775, and Cook and his party would have viewed his corpse after it had lain for nearly two years in the ghost house (fare Tupapa’u) adjacent to Vaiotaha, the most important Marae (temple) on the peninsula. The length of time the body lay before burial indicates the chief’s high status.
Joppien and Smith quote an account by Cook, in which he records that some of the gentlemen of his party came across the fare Tupapa’u where the body of the chief was lying in state on their walks and mistook it for a chapel.
Soft ground etching, with hand-colouring, 405 x 318mm (trimmed to plate mark), mounted.
Stock ID: 98807