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The Making of Tupaia’s Map

  • Tupaia’s Map is one of the most famous and enigmatic artefacts to emerge from the early encounters between Europeans and Pacific Islanders. It was drawn by Tupaia, an arioi priest, chiefly advisor and master navigator from Ra‘iātea in the Leeward Society Islands in collaboration with various members of the crew of James Cook’s Endeavour, in two distinct moments of mapmaking and three draft stages between August 1769 and February 1770. To this day, the identity of many islands on the chart, and the logic of their arrangement have posed a riddle to researchers. Drawing in part on archival material hitherto overlooked, in this long essay we propose a new understanding of the chart’s cartographic logic, offer a detailed reconstruction of its genesis, and thus for the first time present a comprehensive reading of Tupaia’s Map. The chart not only underscores the extent and mastery of Polynesian navigation, it is also a remarkable feat of translation between two very different wayfinding systems and their respective representational models.

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Author details:Lars EcksteinGND, Anja SchwarzORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Postprints der Universität Potsdam Philosophische Reihe
Subtitle (English):a Story of the Extent and Mastery of Polynesian Navigation, Competing Systems of Wayfinding on James Cook’s Endeavour, and the Invention of an Ingenious Cartographic System
Publication series (Volume number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Philosophische Reihe (154)
Document Type:Postprint
Date of first publication:2019/01/22
Year of completion:2018
Publishing institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2019/01/22
Tag:Indigenous knowledges and ontologies; Tupaia; artography; first contact; sea of islands; star navigation; translation; wayfinding
Page number:96
Source:The Journal of Pacific History (2018) DOI: 10.1080/00223344.2018.1512369
Organizational units:Philosophische Fakultät / Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
DDC classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 39 Bräuche, Etikette, Folklore / 390 Bräuche, Etikette, Folklore
9 Geschichte und Geografie / 90 Geschichte / 900 Geschichte und Geografie
9 Geschichte und Geografie / 99 Geschichte anderer Gebiete / 990 Geschichte anderer Gebiete
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access
Grantor:Taylor & Francis Open Access Agreement
License (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerziell, Keine Bearbeitung 4.0 International