What’s in a name?: reconstructing nomenclature of prestige and persuasion in late 18th-century Tongan material culture

Herda, P., Lythberg, B., Mills, A. and Taumoefolau, M. (2017) What’s in a name?: reconstructing nomenclature of prestige and persuasion in late 18th-century Tongan material culture. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 126(4), pp. 443-468. (doi: 10.15286/jps.126.4.443-468)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Abstract

This paper is a study in the productivity of working across the disciplinary boundaries of material culture studies, historical linguistics and museology to restore the significance of historic names and terminological classifications for prestigious Tongan objects within the wider context of Western Polynesia. The authors trace the nomenclature of radial feather headdresses (palā tavake) both within Tonga as well as through linguistic cognates from elsewhere in Western Polynesia. Aspects of Tongan naming practices of other prestige items are considered, such as ‘akau tau ‘clubs’ and kie hingoa ‘named mats’, as is the Tongan practice of the poetical device of heliaki. We argue for a deeper understanding of objects of Tongan material culture and the historical and social environment that created them by closely “reading” prestige objects from Tonga’s past.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mills, Dr Andrew
Authors: Herda, P., Lythberg, B., Mills, A., and Taumoefolau, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Journal Name:Journal of the Polynesian Society
Publisher:Polynesian Society
ISSN:0032-4000
Published Online:25 December 2017

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record