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Hawaii - Expo Paris 1889

Hawaii at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889
Architect(s) : Bon

The kingdom of Hawaii or the Sandwich Islands is officially represented at the Paris Exposition. The government has voted a grant of 20,000 francs for this purpose.

The Hawaiian exhibition is situated on the Avenue de Suffren side, next to the Indian Palace. It occupies a very elegant pavilion, built according to the drawings of M. Bon, architect, and covers an area of about 250 square metres.

This pavilion, surrounded by a veranda cheerfully painted in red and blue, contains the products sent by 50 exhibitors. As with all countries where industry is almost non-existent or at least rudimentary, it is the products of the soil, whether mining or agricultural, that make up the bulk of this small kingdom's exhibition.

The Hawaiians therefore sent coffee, sugar, sugar cane, tobacco, rice, taro flour (arum esculentum) and in general all the products of the culture of hot countries.

There is also a fine collection of mineralogical samples. These are mainly lava and volcanic rocks of which these regions, covered with active or extinct volcanoes, offer numerous specimens. There are also textile fibres (ramies), mats of modern manufacture, ancient fabrics, clothes made by beating with wood bark and naively decorated; but it is especially important to note coats made exclusively of bird feathers.

We will mention in particular a kind of pilgrimage coat in which crescents of red and black feathers stand out against a background of bright yellow feathers to a truly curious effect. These richly coloured feathers are provided by birds, roosters, which have very few of them, and one is astonished at the quantity of birds that it took to make whole coats in this way.

The Sandwich Islands section also shows us furniture made from various local woods (opiko, haw, kou, olapa, ohia, etc.), including mosaic tables and a huge wardrobe belonging to the king.

On the walls are paintings of Hawaiian landscapes and portraits of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani.

This exhibition is, in short, most interesting: it shows the activity and intelligence of this small monarchy, where, moreover, education is extremely well developed, for there is not a single inhabitant in the kingdom who cannot at least read.

© Guide Bleu du Figaro et du Petit Journal 1889