MURAL IN THE WAIKIKI BRANCH OF THE BISHOP BANK

SUBJECT MATTER

EARLY CONTACTS OF HAWAII WITH OCCIDENTAL CULTURE

JEAN CHARLOT[1]

 

I.               Central Motif: earliest forms of barter.

                 (1) Exchange of feather cloaks and helmets for metal tools and kegs of nails.       Exchange of foodstuffs: (2) Hawaiian pigs and tropical fruits for (3) longhorn           cattle and goats brought from California by the English. 

II.             Extreme left: the old and the new. (I)

                   (4) Women beating kapa, contrasting with (5) the introduction of the spinning    wheel and the sewing of the first mu`umu`u. 

III.           Extreme right: the old and the new. (II) 

                   (6) The last kahuna by the side of an akua stone, contrasting with (7) one of          the first missionaries teaching the ABC to (8) a group of native students, old and young.  Two children make friends, one of them a haole. 

IV.           Interior scene at left: the court of Kamehameha the First.  

                   The sovereign (9) is receiving the embassy of (10) von Kotzebue.  Two of the     more famous members of the expedition are also portrayed: the artist Choris                (11), in the act of painting the only known portrait from life of Kamehameha;           and von Chamisso (12), famous author of Peter Schlemihl, The Man who Lost           his Shadow.  He joined the expedition as botanist and is represented beside the      giant Hawaiian fern that he discovered and that still bears his name. 

                   To the right of this same scene, in allusion to the once essential sandalwood          trade with the orient, the ali`i Boki (13) is shown in conversation with a       Chinese merchant, who holds a twig of sandalwood. 

V.             Interior scene at right: introduction of printing in the islands. 

                   The moment depicted is that when King Kamehameha the second (14)                         inaugurated the first press by printing with his own hand his name.  The press          model is authentic. 

VI.          The inscription (15) is a quotation from Kepelino (ca. 1860) describing the            qualities of the Hawaiian people and their innate hospitality to travelers. 

 

The sketch is in the true proportions of the actual wall panel at the scale of ½ = 1. 



[1] This text appears to be an explanation of the sketch plan of the mural.  The original is in all capital letters.  Edited by John Charlot. 

Early Contacts of Hawaii with Outer World.  Bishop Bank (later First National Bank), Waikk Branch, Honolulu, Hawai`i, 11 X 67.  October 25, 1951–January 17, 1952.  Destroyed and divided into approximately 70 easel–size panels when the building was demolished in 1966.