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Monuments funeraires de L'ile Toud, Detroit de Torres

Date: c 1845
Dimensions:
Overall: 366 x 493 mm, 0.25 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00008364
Place Manufactured:France
Related Place:Torres Strait,

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    Description
    Plate 169 from 'Voyage au Pole Sud et dans l'Oceanie by Dumont d'Urville titled 'Monuments funeraires de l'Ile Toud (Detroit de Touies)' ('Funeral monuments on Toud Island /Tudu Island, Torres Strait').

    Dumont D’Urville’s Pacific expeditions recorded diverse aspects of the Indigenous cultures encountered during the voyages. Here the voyage artist has captured the details of a funerary monument adorned with dugong skulls, ribs, spears and shells.
    SignificanceDumont D'Urville's two expeditions (1826 1829 and 1837-1840) brought back significant scientific collections which emulated the achievements of James Cook in the 1770s and paralleled the work of Charles Darwin aboard the BEAGLE.

    In addition to the scientific staff, both expeditions included artists of considerable talent. On the first expedition the chief artist was Louis de Sainson. Ernest Goupil was the official artist during part of the second expedition, however, when he died during the voyage he was succeeded by the expedition's assistant surgeon Louis le Breton. Today Dumont D'Urville is recognised for initiating and applying a classification system to various ethnic groups - describing them as Austronesian, Polynesian, Melanesian or Micronesian.

    HistoryDugong bone mounds have been confirmed by archaeological excavations on Tudu Island to have been in use for at least 400-500 years. They were oval shaped and were known to be up to 13 meters long and one metre in height. Made predominantly from dugong ribs and the rear skull bones they were originally described by European explorers as 'ceremonial' or 'shrines'.
    More recent investigations suggest that the mounds were more likely associated with 'hunting magic, social cohesion and collective identity.'
    (McNiven, Ian and Wright, Duncan. 'Islands of Inquiry: Ritualised marine Midden Formation in western Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait)'. 2008, ANU Press.)

    Jules Dumont D'Urville was a French naval officer who commanded voyages of discovery to the Pacific Ocean and Antarctica in the first half of the 19th century. In his early career he had participated in a survey of the Aegean Sea, where he was instrumental in the recovery for the Musee de Louvre of the 'Venus de Milo'. He also served with distinction as second in command to Captain Louis Duperrey during a circumnavigation in the corvette LA COQUILLE (1822 1825).

    Based on the success of this voyage the French Minister for the Navy commissioned another voyage in LA COQUILLE. An important goal of this expedition was to discover what had happened to the La Perouse expedition (which had disappeared without trace 40 years earlier), and with this in mind, LA COQUILLE was renamed after La Perouse’s ship L’ASTROLABE. The expedition lasted three years and successfully solved the La Perouse mystery, discovering shipwreck remains at Vanikoro Island in the Solomon Islands. Several anchors, cannons and chains were brought back to France where they were used in a monument to La Perouse.

    Between 1837 and 1840 D’Urville in L’ASTROLABE (accompanied by LA ZELEE) explored parts of the Antarctic. The results of both voyages were published in Paris and included magnificent large format atlases containing a wide variety of detailed charts and illustrations. In 1842 Dumont D’Urville’s career was brought to an abrupt end when he and his family were tragically killed in a train accident.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Monuments funeraires de L'ile Toud, Detroit de Torres

    Primary title: MONUMENTS FUNERAIRES DE L'ILE TOUD (DETROIT DE TOUIES)

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