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Jeux Havaiens (Hawaiians playing)

Date: 1874
Overall: 109 x 174 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00005960
Place Manufactured:Paris
Related Place:Hawaii,

User Terms

    The title of this engraving Jeux Havaiens translates to Hawaiians Playing, and depicts a group of Hawaiians surfing on boards close to a rocky shore.

    It is taken from Charles de Varigny's publication Quatorze ans aux Iles Sandwich, which was published in Paris in 1874.
    SignificanceThis engraving is an important visual record of late 19th century surfing in Hawaii and highlights the international influence of Hawaiian surfers. Australia was first introduced to surfing around this time by traders and travellers who had passed through Hawaii. Today, surfing is an iconic Australian activity, and is common all over the coast of Australia.
    HistoryHawaii and its people are synonymous with surfing and their own legends predate the activity well before Europeans appeared. Known as 'hee nalu' Hawaiians surfing were first recorded by Europeans to the region in 1779. Originally reserved for nobility and royalty, 'hee nalu' was difficult to comprehend for visiting explorers. Captain Kin who accompanied Captain Cook wrote of surfing in his diary. It is clear it was difficult for him to comprehend:
    "The boldness and address, with which we saw them perform these difficult and dangerous manoeuvres, was altogether astonishing, and is scarcely to be credited."

    Despite its strong cultural and social connection to the Hawaiians, waves of missionaries and colonists over the subsequent decades discouraged the continuation of 'hee nalu'. It was not until the early 1900's that it was revived and the rest, as they say, is history.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Jeux Havaiens (Hawaiians playing)

    Primary title: JEUX HAVAIENS (Hawaiians playing)

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