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A Man of New Zealand and A Woman of New Zealand

Artist/Maker: Artist Unknown (Artist Unknown)

Artist/Maker: William Hodges (England, 1744-1797)

Date: 1784-1786
Medium: engraving
Sheet: 10 x 14 3/8 in. (25.4 x 36.5 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of Drs. Ann and Robert Walzer
Object number: 2004.50.9.12
DescriptionWilliam Hodges, John Webber (English, 1751-1793), and William Webb Ellis (English, ca. 1756-1785) all sketched Maori women, while some of Sydney Parkinson’s most well known images depicted the extensive facial tattoos and costumes of Maori men. In his journal, Parkinson described the Maori he encountered: “Most of them had their hair tied up on the crown of their heads in a knot … Their faces were tataowed, or marked either all over, or on one side, in a very curious manner, some of them in fine spiral directions like a volute being indented in the skin very different from the rest.” Tattoos were a unique expression of status for both men and women, wrapping the wearer in a layer of spirit power (mana) and creating a visible statement of genealogical claim in a society in which clan affiliation and descent was a matter of paramount importance.

Hogg’s engraver has made some effort to distinguish male from female in this print. The Maori woman bears the closest resemblance to an engraving after Hodges from Cook’s 1777 account. Greater liberties have been taken with the man of New Zealand. His simplified facial tattoos and full beard are unusual in the artistic production from the voyages, and he lacks the more commonly depicted Maori hairstyle and costume ornamentation, also an important source of mana, which were described and well represented in the official accounts. During Cook’s first voyage, a number of the travelers were tattooed, including Sydney Parkinson and Joseph Banks (English, 1743-1820), the naturalist and patron of the arts who had strongly supported and sailed with Cook. They and others brought the art form back with them to Europe where, by the end of the eighteenth century, it had become a popular practice.
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In Collection(s)