A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 794 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13.

Their dress was very different from any that we had seen before, as well as the cloth of which it was made.  The cloth was of the same materials as that which is worn in the other islands, and most of that which was seen by our people was dyed of a bright but deep yellow, and covered on the outside with a composition like varnish, which was either red, or of a dark lead-colour; over this ground it was again painted in stripes of many different patterns, with wonderful regularity, in the manner of Our striped silks in England; the cloth that was painted red was striped with black, and that which was painted lead-colour with white.  Their habit was a short jacket of this cloth, which reached about as low as their knees; it was of one piece, and had no other making than a hole in the middle of it, stitched round with long stitches, in which it differed from all that we had seen before:  Through this hole the head was put, and what hung down was confined to their bodies by a piece of yellow cloth or sash, which, passing round the neck behind, was crossed upon the breast, and then collected round the waist like a belt, which passed over another belt of red cloth, so that they made a very gay and warlike appearance; some had caps of the feathers of the tropic bird, which have been before described, and some had a piece of white or lead-coloured cloth wound about the head like a small turban, which our people thought more becoming.

Their arms were long lances, made of the etoa, the wood of which is very hard; they were well polished and sharpened at one end:  some were near twenty feet long, though not more than three fingers thick; they had also a weapon which was both club and pike, made of the same wood, about seven feet long; this also was well polished, and sharpened at one end into a broad point.  As a guard against these weapons, when they attack each other, they have matts folded up many times, which they place under their clothes from the neck to the waist:  The weapons themselves indeed are capable of much less mischief than those of the same kind which we saw at the other islands, for the lances were there pointed with the sharp bone of the stingray that is called the sting, and the pikes were of much greater weight.  The other things that we saw here were all superior in their kind to any we had seen before; the cloth was of a better colour in the dye, and painted with greater neatness and taste; the clubs were better cut and polished, and the canoe, though a small one, was very rich in ornament, and the carving was executed in a better manner:  Among other decorations peculiar to this canoe, was a line of small white feathers, which bung from the head and stern on the outside, and which, when we saw them, were thoroughly wetted by the spray.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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