Our Museum, continued, 1900.

OUR MUSEUM

The Bishop Collection of Curios.

One of the Most Interesting Sights In Honolulu Pleasantly Described.

(Concluded.)

Death seems to have played an important part in the ancient regime, as the kings and chiefs had the power of life and death over their subjects. Then too, the priesthood, or kahunas, exercised what is termed the “tabu,” which prescribed certain rules and regulations for the natives, any violation of which was punishable by death; for instance a chief placed “tabu” sticks at the entrance to his hut; that meant to one and all, “Do not enter or pass within the shadow of the tabu sticks under pain of death;” if a Hawaiian subject, and even a petty chief, violated this tabu, he was instantly put to death; supplication was of no avail. The power of the kahunas in their exercise of the tabu, was so great and the superstitious awe of the common native so intense, that its effects have not died out even in this day and age. The common natives are yet prone to believe in their kahunas, and believe that they have the power to pray them to death; in olden days, if an enemy obtained any part of the body of another, a hair, a part of the finger nail, spittle, or anything of the body itself, he would give it to a kahuna and ask him to pray the other one to death; with great ceremony the kahuna would perform certain mysterious functions over the hair, say strange words, offer it before the poison god, and then announce that he was praying the native to death; this being told to the native so great his superstitious fear, he would go to his hut and in reality become sick over the thought of the dread summons made by the kahuna, and in many cases they actually died of the fright thus given them; and to this day many of the natives place more faith in their kahunas than in the “haole” or foreign physicians. If the praying did not perform the evil work, then a piece of the poison god was steeped and the fluid given the sufferer, it is said, which, acting upon his heart, killed him. On every hand in the museum are the evidences of kahunaism and death. There are stones, peculiarly shaped, (like a gourd,) with a small neck; these stones were suspended from the low door of a grass house in such a way that the person entering after the trap was set, would probably be crushed by the fall of the stone. They are made from lava rock. Continue reading

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Still Our Museum Today! 1900.

OUR MUSEUM

The Bishop Collection of Curios.

One of the Most Interesting Sights In Honolulu Pleasantly Described.

HONOLULU, Feb. 8.—Above the inner entrance to the Museum of Hawaiian and Polynesian History is a tablet of polished mottled stone, in which is engraved in letters of gold the following inscription:

To the Memory of
BERNICE PAUAHI BISHOP,
FOUNDER OF THE KAMEHA-
MEHA SCHOOLS OF HO-
NOLULU.
A Bright Light Among Her Peo-
ple; Her Usefulness Survives
Her Earthly Life.

A Bernice Pauahi, she was related to the royal family of the Kamehameha dynasty, and the cousin of Queen Emma, two women who have indelibly inscribed their names upon the hearts of…

BERNICE PAUAHI BISHOP.

…all Hawaiians, whether by birth of association. She married the Hon. C. R. Bishop, and with her immense wealth and her kindly deeds through life, created a new life among the Hawaiians. Upon her death she left most of her wealth to endow the Kamehameha Schools, a separate school for boys and a separate one for girls. These schools are kept up entirely from the income of her estates, which have become so vast as to render it necessary to erect other buildings throughout the Islands in order to expend the revenue. In memory of his wife, the Hon. C. R. Bishop dedicated the museum in her name, laying aside a princely endowment. Collectors have scoured the Hawaiian Islands for curios of historical and intrinsic value and have succeeded by the most diligent effort and at great expense, in depositing in the museum an invaluable collection of ancient materials which would warm the cockles of the antiquarian’s heart beyond measure. Calabashes, large and small, ancient and modern, have come into the museum; some were in the possession of families, relics passed from one generation to another; others were found in the caves where in ancient times were buried kings and chiefs. Idols of grotesque shapes, dedicated to all the elements of nature, good and evil; some dedicated to Pele, the Goddess of Volcanoes; others to the poison god and to the fish god; some made of stone, others of the valuable koa and kou woods; one made of the trunk of the poison tree, its wood, upon being steeped in water, being a most powerful, yet undetectable poison which acts upon the heart, and which was used by the kahunas and chiefs. Beautiful feather cloaks of wonderful sheen and delicate texture, worn by Kamehameha the Great during his tour of conquest a century ago. Continue reading