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A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas

[The utensils of the inhabitants of the island of Otaheite]

The Utensils of the inhabitants of the island of Otaheite, and the neighbouring islands, being similar, we have here annexed a plate of some of them, to which we have occasionally referred; but, as we have not mentioned the sizes of them, we shall here recapitulate those drawn in the plate, and shall give a particular account of each. The number of the plate is XIII. of which,
No. 1.Is a Sling, about four feet long, made of plaited twine, formed from the fibres of the bark of a tree; the part, which holds the stone, is woven very close, and looks like cloth, from which the string gradually tapers to a point.
2.The Paddle, made of wood neatly shaped, and worked very smooth, used to strike the instruments No. 3 and 4, wherewith they indent or mark their skins, which they call Tataowing. It is about eighteen inches long.
3. and 4.Are their Tataowing Instruments, the handles of which are wood; towards the end of which is a hollow made to lay the fore-finger of the hand in which holds it: the head is made of one or two flat pieces of bone, of various breadths, tapering to a point towards the handle, to which it is fastened very tight with fibres of the bark of a tree: the broad part, or bottom, is cut into many small sharp teeth. When they mark any person, they dip the instrument, a small one or large one, according to the figure intended, into a black liquid, or juice, expressed from some plant, and, placing it on the part intended to be page 76marked, give it a small blow with the paddle, which causes a great deal of pain. These instruments are about five inches in length.
5.The Cloth-beater, about fourteen inches long.
6.One of their Baskets; round the mouth is a kind of netting made of plaited twine, through which a string is put, which draws the plaiting together, and closes up the mouth. It is eleven inches high, and three feet in circumference.
7.An Ebupa, or Stool, used as a pillow; they generally put a piece of their cloth on it before they lay their head on it. There are many sizes of them; the very large ones they use also as stools to sit on. This, expressed in the figure, was twelve inches and a half long; but some are of the length of two feet.
8.Is one of their Flutes, made of Bamboo, and ornamented with the plaited twine, which also strengthens it; they are about one foot and a half long.
9.One of their Hatchets, the handle of this was fourteen inches and a half long; the head about four inches and a half in length, and the edge about two inches broad.
10.Is a figure of the Stone Paste-beater: this was seven inches and a quarter high.
11.A Fly-flap, the handle made of a hard brown wood, is thirteen inches long.
12.The Feather-Ornament for the Head, six inches long.
13. 14.Mother-of-pearl Ornaments for the Ears, about half an inch long.
15.The Decoy used in fishing, made of shells; the length, from the head to the extremity of the tail, seven inches and a half.
16.A Bone Plummet for their fishing lines, carved, two inches and a quarter long.
17.Another Plummet, made of Spar, about one inch long.page 77
18.A Mother-of-pearl Fish-hook, two inches long.
19.A Fish-hook made of wood, and pointed with a piece of shell, three inches and three quarters long.
20.A Fish-hook made of a large Pinna-marina shell, three inches and three quarters long.
21.Another Fish-hook, made of a large Pinna-marina shell, three inches and three quarters long.
22.Another ditto, made of Mother-of-pearl, two inches long.
23.Another ditto, three quarters of an inch in length.
24.Another ditto, made of Pinna-marina shell, one inch and half long.
25.Another ditto, made of two pieces of Mother-of-pearl, one for the shank, the other for the point. The line is fastened both at the top and bottom. The points of these hooks are sometimes barbed like ours; at the bottom they tie some hair.
26.Three Pearls tied together by plaited hair, worn as an ornament for the ears: each pearl was about the size of a small pea.
27.Sting of a Sting-Ray, used to point their lances and arrows, four inches and a half long.