Outrigger canoe




Seafearing and boat building played a central role in the everyday life on the Pacific Islands. In a region where even neighboring islands are often several hundreds of kilometers apart, boats were important means of transportation. This large, two-masted outrigger canoe comes from the Siassi Islands which are now part of the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea. For a long time these islands were an important trade center which connected the north-east coast of New Guinea with the offshore island of New Britain. The outrigger canoes which were used to cross the rough seas of the Vitiaz Strait and the Dampier Strait were only built on the islands of Mandok and Aramot. On 23 January 1909 the members of the Hamburg South Seas Expedition (1908–1910) commissioned boatbuilders on Mandok Island to construct this outrigger boat. The hull of the boat is wrought from a single tree trunk. Mangrove and other varieties of wood were used for the planks, mast, and outrigger. The sails were woven out of pandanus leaves. The boat builders were also responsible for the boat’s decoration. Each had an own set of styles and patterns that were passed down within their families.

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  • Title: Outrigger canoe
  • Date Created: 1909
  • Type: Canoe
  • Publisher: Museum of Ethnology Hamburg
  • Rights: Museum of Ethnology Hamburg | Photo: Paul Schimweg
  • External Link: Homepage Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg
  • Medium: wood (incl. Mangrove), plant fibres (incl. Vines & Pandanus leafs)
  • on display: Upper Hall
  • Date of Acquisition: 1909
  • Context of Origin: Mandok, Siassi Islands, Northeastern Papua New Guinea
  • Collection: Coll. Hamburg South Seas Expedition