Endeavour journal, 3 August 1769 (Series 03.342)
|Notes:||Page header reads: 'Ulhietea'|
|Author:||Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820|
|Date:||3 August 1769|
|Series title:||Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771|
|Transcript:||3. This day went along shore in the opposite direction to that we took yesterday, intending to spend most of our time in purchasing stock, which we have always found the people readyer to part with at their houses and selling cheaper than at the market. In the course of our walk we met a set of stroling dancers Calld by the Indians Heiva who detaind us 2 hours and during all that time entertaind us highly indeed. They consisted of 3 drums, 2 women dancers and 6 men; these Tupia tells us go round the Island as we have seen the little Heivas do at Otahite, but differ from those in that most of the people here are principal people, of which assertion we had in the case of one of the women an undoubted proof.
I shall first describe their dresses and then their dances. The women had on their heads a quantity of tamou or plaited hair which was rolled and between the interstices of it flowers of Gardenia were stuck making a head dress truly Elegant. Their shoulders arms and breasts as low as their arms were bare, below this they were coverd with black cloth and under each shoulder was placd a bunch of black feathers much as our ladies nosegays or Bouquets. On their hips rested a quantity of cloth pleated very full which reachd almost up to their arms and fell down below into long peticoats reaching below their feet, which they managd with as much dexterity as our opera dancers could have done; these pleats were brown and white alternately but the peticoats were all white.
In this dress they advancd sideways keeping excellent time to the drums which beat brisk and loud; they soon began to shake their hips giving the folds of cloth that lay upon them a very quick motion which was continued during the whole dance, they sometimes standing, sometimes sitting and sometimes resting on their knees and elbows and generaly moving their fingers with a quickness scarce to be imagind. The chief entertainment of the spectators seemd however to arise from the Lascivious motions they often made use of which were highly so, more indeed than I shall atempt to describe.
One of these girls had in her ear 3 pearls, one of them very large but so foul that it was worth scarce any thing, the other two were as large as a midling pea and of a good and clear water as well as shape. For these I offerd at different times any price the owner would have but she would not hear of parting with them; I offerd once the price of 4 hogs down and any thing she would ask beside, but she would not hear of it. Indeed they have always set a value upon their pearls, if tolerably good, almost equal to our valuation supposing them as they always are spoild by the drilling.
Between the dances of the women (for they sometimes rested) the men acted a kind of interlude in which they spoke as well as dancd. We were not however sufficiently vers'd in their language to be able to give an account of the Drama.