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Captain Cook's Last Voyage

Captain James Cook (1728-1779) has always been the brightest star in the constellation of outstanding English seafarers of the 18th century. In the course of eleven years, from 1768 to February, 14th 1779, he headed three scientific voyages round the world, which produced fascinating results, by far excelling both in scope and in significance any of the achievements made by his outstanding fellow countrymen and contemporaries - George Anson, Samuel Wallis, John Byron, Phillip Carteret.

Each of Cook's three voyages was initiated by the British Admiralty, supported by the Royal Scientific Society and even by King George III himself. The Admiralty defined the aim for the expeditions and provided for their material resources and not infrequently for their scientific basis as well. It also ordered not only to record everything they saw, but also to fix everything in drawings, so staff artists always took part in these expeditions. Later, basing on their drawings and watercolours, the best English and French masters made prints and engravings, ordered for by the Admiralty for Atlases to James Cook's diaries published by it. Publishing of results of scientific investigations and geographical discoveries, made in each of the three voyages, is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest contributions made by the British Admiralty to the world science.

Precise and accurate notes made by James Cook and his fellow travelers in their diaries and journals, together with items collected by them and the drawings they had made, created a sound source base for a number of sciences, including ethnography. The amount of zoological, ethnographical and geological items, brought to Europe from these three voyages was great and must have numbered many thousands of objects. Gradually they were all dispersed between various state and private collections; not infrequently they changed their owners, eventually losing every association with the names of their original gatherers, including James Cook.

Today a number of museums in different countries of the world own ethnographical collections of objects, brought from Captain Cook's voyages. Sometimes such collections are named after the people who gathered them: Forster (in Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford University), Sparrman (in Swedish Ethnographical Museum, Stockholm), King (in Trinity College, Dublin), Webber (in the Ethnographical Museum, Bern). But when no name is known, the collection is labeled "Cook collection", such are the Cook collections of the Museum fur Volkerkunde in Vienna, of the Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History in Florence and of St.-Petersburg Kunstkamera.

Cook's collection occupies a very special place among the extremely valuable ethnographical and artistic 18th century exhibits kept in Peter the Great's Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This is due to the collection's three distinguishing features. First is its connection with the celebrated name of an outstanding English seafarer. Second, its age - Cook's collection has always been the earliest big ethnographical collection in the Museum. And the last but not the least is the composition of this collection and a sufficient number of rarities it contains. For instance, until recent times the North American part of the collection was only represented by four woolen and two feather capes and a wooden Aleutian comb. The Oceania part of the collection in the second half of the 20th century contained 32 items [Rozina, 1966, P. 235], among which are 21 exhibits from the Hawaiian Islands. Thirteen of these exhibits are feather articles: five capes, two helmets, two men's neck ornaments, large fans and an "oversleeve". A high quality hafted adz, a fighting knife with shark teeth, a bark cloth beater, a sharkhook, a bracelet made of boar tusks, two wooden daggers and a mat also come from the Hawaiian Islands. The significance of these items lies with the fact that they represent the original culture of the 18th century inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands, before any contacts with the Europeans. Apart from exhibits from the Hawaiian Islands, the collection also contains some items from Tonga and Tahiti Islands. All these features - the name, the age and a rich collection of feather articles - make this collection one of the most valuable ones in the Museum.

 The collection consists of two parts. The first part is represented by three samples of Tahiti bark cloth pieces sent to Kunstkamera in 1777 by one of the Forsters, a participant of James Cook's second circumnavigation (1772-1775). The second part is a big collection of ethnographical objects and engravings given to Major Magnus Karl Behm, Governor of Kamchatka, by officers of Cook's last voyage (1776-1780). This took place on May, 13th and 22nd in 1779 during the time the ships spent in the harbour of St. Peter and St.Paul on Kamchatka in April - June 1779. The present was a token of gratitude of the English sailors for the Russian's help. By Catherine the Second's order on the 27th of March, 1780 this collection was handed over to the Emperor's Academy of Sciences according to the "Inventory" made by Behm. Thus, only the museum age of this collection is more than 220 years.

During the second half of the 20th century this collection was repeatedly published (in full or in part) in this country and abroad. The attribution of certain exhibits and the composition of the collection was sometimes slightly altered [Lichtenberg, 1960; Rozina, 1966; Rozina, 1971; Rozina, 1978; Its, 1989]. After the materials of the collection had been published in 1978 by A. Kaeppler in the Catalogue called 'Artificial curiosities', collected in British Navy Captain James Cook's three voyages across the Pacific Ocean" [Kaeppler, 1978], Cook's collection of Kunstkamera received an "international quality certificate" and a world reputation among the specialists.

We could have agreed with these complimentary appraisals if the collection, repeatedly published over the last 40 years, had remained the way it was presented in May 1779 to Governor of Kamchatka M.K.Behm by the participants of Cook's third voyage, or the way it was reconstructed in the end of the 19th century by the Museum's first Curator Fedor Russow. Unfortunately, the situation is different. Since the time this collection was acquired by the Museum, its composition has reduced from 69 to 39 exhibits. The fact that originally Cook's collection contained fifteen engravings made basing on drawings by a participant of the second voyage William Hodges, was consigned to oblivion. Russow found nine of them in 1893, but they were lost again in the last century. The collection that was in the 20th century referred to as Cook's collection has to some extent lost its authenticity and is a more or less credible reconstruction of its part. To put it in other words, the published Cook's collection of Kunstkamera contained a number of items from other sources and had little in common with its original appearance, thus being more of a prestigious myth rather than reality1.

As it has already been mentioned above, the collection was acquired by the Museum according to Behm's Inventory which contained 48 numbers. Under the first number there were fifteen European engravings, under the others - at least 69 ethnographical artefacts. Two of them were registered to come from Kamchatka, three had Aleutian origin (Island Unimak), and the others (at least 64 artefacts) - from Tonga ("from the Friendly Isles") [Ivanova, 1999, P. 67]. Recent researches allow to say that the fifteen engravings were immediately handed over to the Library of the Emperor's Academy of Sciences, while ethnographical objects were handed to Kunstkamera. Thus, the collection was disunited from the very beginning.

Presumably, in the very end of the 18th century, in the period of aggravation of relations between Russia and Britain, the collection brought by Behm was provided with labels. Only this can explain the fact that neither Cook's name, nor his last voyage or the "Friendly Isles" is mentioned on the seventeen labels that have been preserved. Eight of the labels say the object comes from Kamchatka, nine say the origin is American, but all seventeen say "from Major Behm". The last, eighteenth label from the 18th century ("Kurile seaweed carpet") does not contain any reference to Behm.

In Russian museum literature Cook's collection is first mentioned (though in veiled form) in the second part of Osip Belyaev's book "Peter the Great's Study" published in 1800 [Belyaev, 1800, ii, P. 229-230, 237-239]. His list of items mostly coincides with Behm's Inventory and the labels, but the origin of items listed by Belyaev is "dark": "Kamchadalski"2 or "Unalashkinski"3 , and some "American". Only once Belyaev mentions the "Friendly Isles". This text almost fully coincides with Behm's description of number 37. Comparison of Behm's Inventory and the labels with Belyaev's text proves that the author was familiar with these documents and used them while writing the book. Deliberate avoidance of any mention of the Southern Sea (that is how the Pacific Ocean was referred to in the 18th century), as well as of James Cook's discoveries and collections from his last voyage kept in Kunstkamera, must have been connected with censorial limitations. Prepress of the second part of Belyaev's book fell at the period of extreme aggravation of relations between Russia and Britain under Pavel's reign, and its publication - at breaking-off of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Apparently, also because of censorial limitations, the origin of the whole of ethnographical material from Oceania presented to Behm was changed or veiled, and its description itself was divided into two parts. In this rather strange, "disguised" form this collection went down in the Museum's history and the scientific literature. 

 The first analytic call to materials of Cook's collection of St.Petersburg Kunstkamera was already made in a different institution - Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (MAE). This follows from the "Report" of the Museum's first Kurator Fedor Russow, presented on February, 13th, 1893 on the general meeting of the Academy of Sciences. This was connected with Russow's discovery of nine of the fifteen engravings, listed in Behm's Inventory in the 2nd Department of the Library on January, 27th, 1983. But this "Report" also says: "Taking into account the fact that I have managed to almost fully restore Behm's, and in fact Cook's, collection from the items kept in the Museum, it would be highly advisable to add to the Museum those engravings that had originally belonged to that collection. - Approved" [Minutes of the EMPEROR'S ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, P.3]. Apparently, this proves to the fact that by the end of the 19th century, Cook's collection already didn't exist as an authentic single whole.

However, Russow had started reconstructing this collection much earlier, in the 1880s. This is confirmed by the "Guidebook around the Emperor's Academy of Sciences' Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography" that he published anonymously in 1891 [Petri, 1911, P. 6]. Russow also was the creator and the author of the new Museum's first exhibition that was opened on March, 22nd, 1891 [Russow, 1900, P. 4]. The Guidebook mentions at least ten Hawaiian, Tahitian and Tonga artefacts, exhibited by Russow as Cook's ones [Guidebook, 1891, P. 49, 50-51, 53] 

His method of work with the collection is revealed through his pencil notes on the 18th century labels, hinged tags to some exhibits and a memory note. They contain references to the illustrative materials from Atlases of Cook's three voyages created on the Tonga Island (Freindschaft), on Tahiti and Hawaiian Islands. Thus, they appeal to drawings of items made in the immediate place of their acquisition and similar to those kept in the Museum. These comparative materials allowed Russow to identify and attribute a number of items from Cook's collection, as well as to establish their mixed origin, not just from the "Friendly Isles", as it is said in Behm's Inventory. In other words, Russow developed a method of comparison of the published items with reliable attribution to ethnographical exhibits of unclear or doubtful origin, which is still used by the researchers. 

Finally, Russow published his most substantial conclusions in 1900 in a resumptive work "To the history of ethnographical and anthropological collections of the Emperor's Academy of Sciences in St.Petersburg [Russow, 1900]. There he again claimed mixed origin of articles from Cook's collection, namely from the Hawaiian, Society (Tahiti) and Tonga archipelagos. 

The image of the reconstructed collection emerges from Russow's notes on the 18th century labels and the hinged tags, from the 1891 "Guidebook", the 1893 "Report" and the 1900 publications. On the present exhibition this reconstruction is represented by exhibits under the following numbers: 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 40, and nine engravings: 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51. 

We should emphasize that Russow was the first researcher to use Behm's Inventory while working with Cook's collection of Kunstkamera. It was his initiative to copy it in one of the Museum's documents "MAE's log book № 1. 1837-1879", in which later, near to each number of Behm's Inventory there were put numbers of collection № 505 - Cook's collection according to the new registration system. It is considered, that this new system was adopted in Kunstkamera after 1894, when member of the Academy V.V. Radlov became director of the Museum. 

For obscure reasons, Russow's research was forgotten as early as by the end of the 19th century when, according to the Museum's documents, E.L. Petri made up the Inventory list № 505 (Cook's collection). 18th century text labels with Russow's notes taken off the exhibits, several hinged tags and the memory note were glued in the list. Today Inventory list № 505 contains 33 items. Its examination shows that it was written in several goes by three different people. Exhibits 1 to 29 were written in two goes (1-11 and 12-29) by one person whose handwriting is unidentifiable. Exhibits 30-32 were written by Petri. All the notes are made according to the rules of old spelling. Finally, number 33 was written by A.B. Piotrovski in the Soviet times according to the new spelling. 

This collection contained artefacts only from Oceania, but the characteristic property of this list is frequent absence of information on the origin of certain items, and Petri's later attempts to add it in brackets are often followed by question marks. This gives an impression that the first two registrars were unfamiliar with Russow's reconstruction. 

In addition to objects, discovered by Russow all the five Hawaiian feather capes kept in the Museum (№ 505-9, 12, 17, 18, 19) were included in the Inventory list № 505, instead of the three attributed by Russow, as well as a number of other artefacts presented on this exhibition (№ 12, 18, 29, 32, 33, 34, 42). 

Registration according to the new system implied marking of the collection numbers as well as of record numbers on artefacts themselves. This not only gave the exhibits a kind of "passport", but also allowed to compare them with new museum documents. Record numbers of the collection were put into the Inventory list № 505 as well as into the copy of Behm's Inventory, attached to the "MAE's log book № 1". 

In 1915 in the Museum's Department of America there were "found" and registered into the Inventory list № 2520 six north-American "blanket-capes", each of them marked "From Major Behm's collection, 1780". They were given numbers 4-9. 

Then during the next 44 years no one remembered about this collection, until in 1959 L.G. Rozina re-registered its Oceanian part in the new Inventory list № 505. She not only made a competent description of the exhibits with indication of their size, but also checked their attribution and even found in the Museum's stock an unregistered Hawaiian mat and put it down in her Inventory list under the number 505-30 (on this exhibition № 42). In 1966 L.G.Rozina for the first time published MAE's Cook's collection (including its north-American part) in Russian [Rozina, 1966, P. 234-253], and then, at the instance of Y.M.Svet, republished it in the third volume of his translations of Cook's diaries [Rozina, 1971, P. 578-594], and in 1978 the English translation of her article edited and commented by A.Kaeppler was published [Rozina, 1978, P. 3-17]. 

The English publication of the whole of MAE's Cook's collection (including north-American artefacts), as well as clarification and change of attribution of several Oceanian items, is also due to Kaeppler [Kaeppler, 1978]. The latter can be found in the present Catalogue in the "Publications" section after the description of the corresponding artefacts (№ 15, 19, 25, 31 of the present exhibition). 

Almost at the same time L.G.Rozina prepared for publication MAE's collection of Oceanian tapa (nonwoven bark cloth) dispersed in different collections, including some old samples, registered in the beginning of the 20th century in collection № 737. Here she included objects presented to M.K.Behm, however not defining which exactly. The results of her work are reflected in two big articles [Rozina, 1969, 1974]. On the exhibition there are presented Hawaiian tapas attributed by her (№ 737-10, 14, 15, 15, 17, 18) and associated with those given to M.K.Behm in 1780 [Rozina, 1974, P. 99]. In the present Catalogue their description and attribution wholly belong to L.G.Rozina (№№ 35-38). 

Three samples of Tahitian bark cloth acquired in 1777 from Reinhold Forster, who had been working in Russia for a number of years before that, were not allotted in a separate collection and were "dissolved" among other artefacts of the kind in collection № 737. Acquired in Oceania during Cook's second circumnavigation, they can indeed be considered part of the Museum's Cook's collection. Rozina attributed as Tahitian and identified with Forster's gift the exhibits with collection numbers 737-1, 2, 21 [Rozina, 1974, P. 99]. The author of the present Catalogue has a different opinion on item № 737-1, and puts forward another version of its acquisition by the Museum - not earlier than in the beginning of the 19th century from Captain G.Barber, whose name is written on the hem of the artefact from the inside [Ivanova, 1991, 1993]. 

Sharing L.G.Rozina's opinion on dating and Tahitian origin of items № 737-2, 3, 21, I also assume that apart from items № 737-2, 21 Forster the Elder could also have sent cloth № 737-3. All the three pieces of cloth are quite impressive and could have been sent to Russia as a present. Apart from dating, place of manufacture and representation reasons, no grounds have yet been found to identify these objects with the samples sent by Forster. Their descriptions are made by the author of this text. 

During the 1990s we have managed to achieve certain results in establishing of authenticity of Cook's collection of the 18th century St.Petersburg Kunstkamera. My familiarization with the English translation of Behm's Inventory, made in 1978 by Y.M.Svet and S.G.Fedorova [Svet,Fedorova, 1978, P. 16-19], discovery and examination of its second (identical) list, have led me to the conclusion about the absence in this document of the six American blanket-capes mentioned above (№ 2520-4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). This is also confirmed by publications of specialists in American ethnography. For instance, E.A. Okladnikova has brought it out clearly that two feather capes № 2520-9, 9, that had been considered Cook's, were in fact brought by I.G.Voznesenski [Okladnikova, 1997]. 

A promising idea concerning other four woolen capes (№ 2520-4, 5, 6, 7) was recently put forward by S.A.Korsun. He assumed that they come from the collection of G.G.Izmailov and D.I.Bocharov's expedition [Korsun, 1999]. From my point of view, his hypothesis needs further reasoning, but the main thing is that the process of critical comprehension of one of the MAE's 'relics' still goes on. 

The study of the Oceanian part of Cook's collection basing on Behm's Inventory, calls into question the presence of five feather capes in this collection [Ivanova, 1999]. In the Inventory two of them are called 'menteya'4 , and the other three - 'zephyrs'. Y.M.Svet and C.G.Fedorova translated 'zephyr' into English as 'fan'. However, the other three fans in Behm's Inventory were identified as 'big fans'. Reasoning from J.King and D.Samwell's evidence of German as the language of communication between Russian officials and English sailors, I have tried to find the meanings of the word 'zephyr' in the corresponding dictionaries of the late 18th century. In one of them, published in 1778, I managed to find out that apart from 'western light breeze', 'zephyr' also means 'woman's head-dress' ("ein Hauptschmuck des Frauenzimmers, capitis ornamentum sexus muliebris") [Gelterhoff, 1778, P. 247]. If we apply this meaning to the 'zephyrs' from Behm's Inventory, we get "three woman's head-dresses made of red and yellow feathers". Such translation makes it obvious for any specialist on Oceania that the item in point is lei - Hawaiian feather ornaments that young women wear on their heads or necks. However, such interpretation needed confirmation by actual items from MAE's collections.

In April 1998, thanks to assistance of the MAE's American stocks' curator L.P.Lisnenko, I have managed to find at least one certain Hawaiian lei among feather ornaments attributed to American aborigines. This artefact (№ 765-185) has analogues, for instance in the Australian museum in Sydney. They are listed in A.KAeppler's Catalogue [Kaeppler, 1978, Fig. 93, 95].

However, in this collection the Hawaiian lei was not the only Oceanian artefact. In Septermber 1997 A.Kaeppler conducted an expertise of the exhibits selected in MAE by representatives of Tonga Kingdom for a prospective exhibition dedicated to the 80th birthday of the King of Tonga Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. She was also given an opportunity to familiarize herself with the stocks of MAE's Departments of America and Oceania to reveal and valuate old Tonga artefacts. As a result of her work, there came out an "Evaluation list" (31 exhibits). Among other exhibits it contained the following Tonga artefacts: an 18th century horizontal nose flute (№ 765-51; № 10 on the present exhibition), a girdle (№ 2328-2636; № 14 on the present exhibition and two clubs (№№ 763-253, 256; №№ 16, 17 on the present exhibition). The latter were at the same time and independently attributed by me according to a description published earlier [Fedorova, 1984, P. 76], and also presumably identified with №№ 36 and 15 of Behm's Inventory. Later their belonging to Cook's collection was confirmed by number labels preserved on these artefacts.

The nose flute and the girdle attributed by A.Kaeppler as 18th century Tonga artefacts, are very probably part of the St.Petersburg Kunstkamera Cook's collection, as in the end of the 18th century Russian ships did not yet sail in the southern parts of the Pacific Ocean. That is why on the present exhibition they are displayed along with other artefacts that do not have a definite proof of their belonging to Cook's collection, but that generally agree with it by the time and place of acquisition.

18th century number labels discovered by the author on artefacts from MAE's collections №№ 505 and 736 can be considered one of the successes of the Cook's collection's study. They are one number behind the numbers from Behm's Inventory, which can be explained in the following way. When this collection was received by the Academy of Sciences in 1780, it must have been decided to keep the engravings in the Library and the 69 ethnographical exhibits in Kunstkamera. Though both institutions were part of the Academy of Sciences, they, as it has been determined, had different catalogues. Accordingly, the engravings had to be registered in the Library Catalogue and the artefacts - in the Kunstkamera Catalogue. 

It is logical to assume that the acquisition of artefacts by Kunstkamera was conducted according to Behm's Inventory, and that all information from it was consistently registered in the Catalogue. At the same time, numbers corresponding to the register order were glued onto the exhibits. But because In Behm's Inventory all engravings went under number '1', registration in Kunstkamera's Catalogue started from the artefact that in Behm's Inventory went under number '2', and that was, naturally written down under number '1'.

At the same time a label with number '1' was glued onto the Behm's Inventory's number '2' artefact, which allowed to identify it with the register note in Kunstkamera's Catalogue. Later on such register order was retained. Thus, register numbers in Kunstkamera's Catalogue and the numbers on the corresponding labels went one number behind compared with Behm's Inventory (see 18th century number labels on exhibits №№ 16, 17, 27 of the present exhibition and descriptions №№ 8, 18, 23, 30, 33 of this Catalogue). Artefacts that have these number labels or their traces undoubtedly belong to Cook's collection of the 18th century St.Petersburg Kunstkamera. For illustration see the chart with information on the 18th century number labels, preserved on artefacts from Cook's collection, below.

18th century number label Number in Behm's Inventory 18th century text label (presence) MAE's collection number Number of artefact on the exhibition
5 6 - axe + 505-28 - adz 33
8 9 - big fan + 505-4 - fan 23
14 15 - wooden 'bulava'7 - 736-256 - club 16
17 18 - 'shishak'8 - 505-11 - helmet 30
21 22 - chest apron + 505-14 - 'pectoral'9 8
25 26 - dagger with teeth + 505-5 - fighting knife 27
[3]4 35 - five hooks, ... one of them wooden + 505-24 - sharkhook 18
35 36 - black wooden shovel - 736-253 - club 17


Thus, today there have been discovered six number labels preserved on the exhibits themselves, one (with number '8') in the Inventory № 505, and one more - on the photograph of the artefact in MAE's cards catalogue with remains of figure "4" that was presumably part of number "34". All preserved number labels are unified by the same manufacture 18th century paper; typographical way of plotting of bulged-in and black-coloured symbols; identity of the same figures in different numbers, and, finally, by being one number behind the numbers from Nehm's Inventory. Hence, the bulged-in and black-coloured numbers on the 18th century paper labels were the numbers that the artefacts brought by M.K.Behm got when they were acquired by Kunsstkamera. These number labels prove earnestly these exhibits' belonging to Cook's collection of the 18th century St.Petersburg Kunstkamera. Six of them were found on artefacts from Cook's collection (№ 505) and two - on artefacts from collection № 736. This once again proves the idea of presence of some artefacts from Cook's collection in MAE's different collections, and at the same it serves as the evidence of possibility of their disclosure. And presence of a similar number label that is one number behind Behm's Inventory, will serve as a proof of the exhibit's belonging to the famous collection.

Finally, in 1997 I managed to find in the Department of Museum Stock, Registration and Storage some forgotten documents that allowed to identify nine engravings found by Russow on January, 27th, 1893. They were kept in the Museum's Library as fragments of an incomplete Album to one of Cook's voyages. Separate keeping of these documents and the engravings must have led to the fact that their existence and belonging to Kunstkamera's Cook's collection were completely forgotten in the 20th century [Ivanova, 2000, P. 141-142]. Analysis of Cook's second voyage's journal as well as of G.Forster's book "Round-the-World Voyage", allowed to attribute the pictures10 and to clarify the dates of William Hodges' (the artist of Cook's second voyage) making the drawings that served as a basis for the engravings [Ivanova, 2000, P. 145-150].

In conclusion of the introductory part of the exhibition catalogue, I would like to point out that today artefacts from the 18th century Kunstkamera Cook's collection can be found at least in MAE's five collections (№№ 505, 736, 737, 765, 2328). There is evidence that seventeen artefacts reconstructed by Russow, including a feather standard (№ 505-2), that is today kept in MAE's Laboratory of Restoration and Preservation, also belong to it, as well as a number of artefacts with 18th century number labels. These are artefacts, brought in the collection after F.K.Russow: a sharkhook (№ 505-24; № 18 on the exhibition), a hafted adz (№ 505-28, № 33 on the exhibition), a fan (№ 505-4; № 23 on the exhibition) and two rediscovered Tonga clubs (№№ 736-253, 256; №№ 16, 17 on the exhibition). On the whole there are 22 artefacts and 9 engravings. The question of belonging to the collection of one of the yellow-and-red feather chief's capes (№№ 505-12, 18; №№ 22, 28 on the exhibition), still remains unanswered.

The probability of the other ten artefacts' (three Tahitian and four Hawaiian bark cloth pieces, Tonga nose flute and girdle, as well as Hawaiian feather ornament lei) belonging to the 18th century Cook's collection is rather high.

However, only full and precise list of items brought by Russian seafarers of the first quarter of the 19th century from Tonga, Tahiti and Hawaiian islands, can serve as a final proof to it.

Thus, over the past years the composition and conformation of Cook's collection have changed sufficiently. Nine exhibits were excluded from it:

  • Six North American capes (№№ 2520-4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9);
  • Two 'zephyrs' that were earlier considered feather collars (№№ 505-17, 19);
  • A wooden Aleutian comb (№ 505-21) that is kept in the stock of the Department of American Ethnography. It has an ink inscription with a date '1897' and a last name beginning with 'L.';
  • A zoological exhibit (№ 505-27), wrongly registered as a "comb-like tool used to apply different patterns to a face"

However, two Tonga clubs and nine engravings made basing on William Hodges' drawings were included in Cook's collection, which specifies and extends that part of the collection that can be soundly considered authentic.

In conclusion we should say the following. Unfortunately, within the limits of an introductory article to the catalogue, we could only touch upon the source study aspect of the 18th century St.Petersburg Kunstkamera Cook's collection. However, it is obvious that Cook's collection is a historical, ethnographical and artistic relic that has absorbed various historical events and closely tied together people of different epochs and from different parts of the world. They all bear relation to its creation or gathering or to the history of that part of Cook's ethnographical heritage that in May 1779 found itself in Russia. This collection reflects a number of important events of Captain Cook's second and third voyages, some geographical and ethnographical discoveries of the second voyage (1772-1775), the first visit of English sailors to Kamchatka in April-May 1779, as well as its more than a two-hundred-year history of storage in Russian academic museums.

1The loss of some articles from the original collection could have been caused by several reasons, among which three seem most likely. First of them is evacuation on September, 29th, 1812 of Kunstkamera's and the Archive's most valuable materials into the village of Kapustino (100 km away from PEtrozavodsk) connected with a danger of takeover of St.Petersburg by the French. Although, as early as "on December, 13th, 1812 all items sent to Petrozabodsk were settled back in the Archive and in Kunstkamera" [Stanukovich, 1953, P.203-204].
In 1828 Kunstkamera acquired big collections from the Museum of the former Admiralty Department. They mostly consisted of items collected by Russian seafarers in the first quarter of the 19th century, and a significant part of them originated from the same regions of Oceania as Cook's collection. Acquisition by Kunstkamera of a big and not very accurately registered collection could have made for confusion of its items with those from Cook's collection.
Another reason is connected with transformation of Kunstkamera itself and with division of its collections and documents between several Academic museums founded on its basis. In 1818 the Oriental Cabinet was formed that several months later was renamed Asian Museum, and the Asian part of Kunstkamera's ethnographical collections was handed over to that new museum. In the late 1830s these collections were returned to the Ethnographical Museum founded in 1836. In 1879 on the basis of the Ethnographical Museum and the Anatomical Cabinet there was created Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography that mostly contained items from the territory of Russia. Transference of a number of collections from one museum to another were followed with changes in register forms, which led to loss of authenticity of many collections, including Cook's collection.

2 From Kamchatka Peninsula.

3 From the Island of Unalashka (one of the islands in Aleutian archipelago).

4 'Menteya', 'mentenya' - old Russian word for cape.

5 Collection № 765 of the American Department has a mixed composition, i.e. it contains items acquired from different people in different times. It is considered that it was composed of Brazilian materials, acquired by Kunstkamera from a Lisbon linguist A.G. de Arauho in 1791, from G.I.Langsdorf in the 1820s, as well as of materials acquired by the Ethnographical museum from I.G.Voznesenski in the 1840s. It is considered that these items were chosen by K.K.Gilzen from those unregistered by the beginning of the 20th century. However, this collection undoubtedly contains a number of old items from Oceania. For instance, K.K.Gilzen attributed a hafted adz (№ 765-61) as Oceanian. My familiarization with this exhibit allowed to clarify its origin and age - Tahiti Island, 18th century. This collection also contains a Hawaiian lei (№765-18) [Ivanova, 1999, P. 72] and an 18th century Tonga nose flute discovered by A.Kaeppler (№756-51).

6 Collection №2328 is a mixed one. It was registered in 1914 by B.E.Petri. It contains single artefacts, acquired by the Museum from 1780 to 1895, when all new collections were registered according to the new system. Collections displayed on MAE's permanent exhibitions from 1891 to the beginning of 1914, were being taken out of the showcases to be registered according to the new system, and then put back again. During this period of time this exhibition was reorganized and refashioned four times. By the time of the last reorganization it turned out to contain at least 250 exhibits from different regions that were not registered or had lost their old numbers. It was these exhibits that were included in Inventory №2328. [Ivanova, 2000b, P.101].

7 'Bulava' - old Russian word for club.

8 'Shishak' - old Russian word for helmet.

9 'Pectoral' - from Latin 'pectoralia' - breast armour.

10 In the course of more than two centuries the rediscovered engravings have been repeatedly reproduced in Cook's journals, and, at first glance, need no attribution. However, these nine first prints didn't yet have published titles, only handwritten inscriptions made in English. The latter do not correspond to the generally accepted titles, and sometimes to the image.