Request help identifying a model of Oceania Canoe :-)

Discussion in 'Scale and Miniature Canoe Models' started by fabelgium, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. fabelgium

    fabelgium Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello to all members,
    I am Fabrice and I live in Belgium. I am passionate about history and Art in general. I am collector of ethnic objects of the former Belgian-Congo and I have recently been interested in ancient ethnic paddles.

    I discovered your website trying to identify the origin and the age of a big polynesian canoe model that "I had the chance" to buy yesterday.
    Unfortunately, at this time it is the only picture that I have. I will receive it next Wednesday and if you wish, I will make other pictures.
    Please would you help me to identify my recent acquisition :)
    Many thanks for your kind attention

    Greetings from Belgium :)
    Fabrice
     

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  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Fabrice,

    Welcome to the WCHA!

    There are folks here who know a whole lot about model canoes, who will probably be checking in soon, who can either answer your questions, or at least point you to someone who may know more about this gem!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    fabelgium

    fabelgium Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello pklonowski
    Many thanks for your message :)
     
  4. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Hello Fabrice, and welcome to WCHA. I am one of those who shares your passion for smaller model canoes. You have a very lovely and interesting piece. Let's see if we can help you learn more about it.

    The authoritative, historic resource book for canoes of the Pacific is generally regarded as "Canoes of Oceania", by A C Haddon and James Hornell, published by the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. This is a very old text, first printed in 1936-38, in 3 volumes. First editions are now very rare, and often extremely expensive. However, paperback reprints can be found; even then, they can be costly. You can possibly find a copy to read at a good library; if you are thinking of buying one, check ABE books (Advanced Book Exchange), where used book sellers often advertise, or look on eBay, where a copy occasionally turns up. Usual asking prices run from $100 - $300. The 3 vol. set now comes in one, thick book. There are several other excellent reference books for this part of the world, including some in the French language, if that helps. I can try to get more info, if you wish.

    The keys to learning the origin of your model will be found in the very distinctive carving of the ends. Also, in the manner in which the outrigger float is attached to the main hull. Each of the different island cultures throughout the Pacific had their own method/design for attaching and tying outriggers to booms and booms to hulls. Haddon & Hornell's book has many illustrations and photos to help; these will be your first clues. Also, the pattern in which the supporting booms are laid out, and perhaps also in the details of the sail.

    I will try to find a moment in the next day or so to look through my books to see if I can discern anything. I'll also contact an expert friend who has much wider and deeper experience in Oceanic models. We will report back. In the meantime, please have a look at my website: antiquemodelcanoes.com. There, you will see some photos of Oceanic canoes I collected over the years. If you look specifically at the page called "Canoe History", near the bottom you will find some links to major museums where you can view their collections on-line. You will also find some excellent reference texts. Those museums and their collection photos may also help guide you.

    Good luck,
    Roger
     
  5. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Fabrice, below is an illustration copied from "Canoes of Oceania", p. 77, showing a sailing canoe from Taku, Northern Melanesia. It seems to my eye to have some similarities to your model. I have also consulted my expert friend, Terry Rutkas, who may hopefully have a much better idea for you. Stay tuned.
     

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  6. OP
    OP
    fabelgium

    fabelgium Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello Roger,
    I thank you for all this information that already help me a lot and that increase my interest for this small model.
    This document is absolutely fantastic. I printed it and looking at the details and we can agree that it is exactly this type of canoe from ''Takuu atolls''. I congratulate you in addition to my thanks.
    I am looking forward to also knowing the information of your expert and friend, Mr Terry Rutkas.
    It is a bit damaged and with a lot of dust. Tomorrow I will try to put all the elements in the right place and I will send you photos of the details ..... the knots, the cords and the details are splendid ... :)
    Many thanks again
    Greetings from Belgium
    Fabrice
     
  7. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Fabrice:
    Here is more info from Terry Rutkas, in answer to your questions:

    "Hi Roger,

    Well, I think you hit it on the nose (Taku). What sells it for me is the detail where the central deck slats are rabbetted into bow and stern structures. There are similar hull styles in other areas but different outrigger attachments. I actually have the French book(s) which you mention: Pirogues Oceaniennes Tomes (Vols) I & II., Jean Neyret S.M. Vol. I, pg. 102 shows a slope on the leading edge of the bows that is similar to those “fangs” on the model. My French is not too good but it does mention the design is very similar to those of Ontong Java (a Polynesian outlier in Melanesia), but I don’t think there would be any confusion."

    So, there are some thoughts from Terry, who visits the Pacific islands often, and is very familiar with native canoes from many areas. I will send you a PM with his contact info. He has also provided reference to an excellent French language text which you may find helpful.

    Glad to be of assistance. Just be careful; model canoes from Oceania are extremely interesting and highly addictive to a collector. There are so many intriguing variations that it would be difficult to collect them all, though enticing to try. I know you will thoroughly enjoy your new model, and dream of others.

    Good luck.
    Roger
     
  8. OP
    OP
    fabelgium

    fabelgium Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello Roger, Here are some photos of details of knots and assemblages of reeds and wood. It is really very finely realized. I am very happy with this find :)
     

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  9. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  10. OP
    OP
    fabelgium

    fabelgium Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello Rob,
    Many thanks for this interesting link.
    As Roger said, I think this is my first miniature canoe but the first of the beginning of a collection ..... "independent of my will" ;-)
    Greetings from Belgium
    Fabrice
     
  11. OP
    OP
    fabelgium

    fabelgium Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello to all members,
    Here are some pictures of the canoe after 'cleaning' and a small grinding without chemicals. I hope that I have not done wrong ... :-(
    The rope is made of coconut fiber, the sail is made of palm leaf and another natural fiber.
    There are 3 different types of wood. The base of the hull, the float and the 2 carved prows are in a kind of very hard wood.
    The raising boards are in a wood speckled with small black dots (perhaps the stem of the coconut leaf)
    The mast, the structure of the sail and the assemblies, are made of light wood.
    The floor of the canoe is made of reed cut for the ligature with the cords ( I imagne like a true one).
    I am very happy with the result and even more pleased with my acquisition.

    Greetings from Belgium
    Fabrice
     

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  12. OP
    OP
    fabelgium

    fabelgium Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello to all members, to rob, to Roger and to Terry :)

    I would like to thank the entire WCHA Forum for giving me the opportunity to identify my Micronesia model.
    With the precious documents that I had the chance to obtain, it is a "large sailing canoe" of the Takuu atolls/ Mortlock Islands. ( Pirogues Océaniennes Jean Neyret S.M. 1974 / canoes of Oceania Haddon, AC.; James Hornell. 1936 / Richard Parkinson's trip to the taku atolls in 1885.)
    This type of canoe has precise characteristics which makes it possible to identify it without any possible error.
    I said "large sailing canoe" because there existed 3 distinct types and destined for precise fotions.
    the largest of the three types, according to information obtained in 1885 by Parkinson from the oldest members of Takuu Atolls and the chief Ariki Manaui, was specially used for fishing Lavenga "Ruvettus Preciosus".
    One of these large canoes was still kept in a shelter in the village in 1907 but was not used for decades because it was too heavy to be pushed to the sea by the inhabitants. In 1907, no living inhabitants of Takuu Island had the opportunity to sail on this type of large canoe that was 15 meters long and 1.5 meters wide.
    Several years later when R. Parkinson returned to the Takuu atolls, the last great canoe he had seen and described had become a ruin.
    So to believe the documents of the late 19th (1885) and early 20th century (1907). It is a model of the last large sailing outrigger canoes used for the ritual fishing of the Lavenga. This type of sailboat was no longer sailing since 1885.
    And that's what I can say for now.

    See you soon
    Greetings from Belgium :)
    Fabrice
     

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