Wednesday, March 9

Herb Kawainui Kane "RIP"

Herbert "Herb" Kawainui Kane (1928–2011) was an artist-historian and author with special interest in Hawaiʻi and the South Pacific. His paintings have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. I'm dedicating this to one of my favorite artists of all time. Aloha RM 

A sailing canoe arrives from the South Pacific, lured by the glow of an eruption on the lower flank of Mauna Loa on the Island of Hawai'i. The discoverers must have been awed to come upon this island, much larger than they may have known in the South Pacific, crowned with fiery volcanoes, streaked with rivers of lava, and trembling with earthquakes. 

In 1824 Princess Kapi'olani of Kona, an ardent Christian convert, decided to act in defiance of Pele as a demonstration to her people of the power of her new faith.

Kamehameha decided to build a great heiau (temple) at Kawaihae to Ku, patron deity of men's works, and as Ku-kailimoku the patron of warfare. Thousands of men passed rocks from hand to hand over great distances and stoneworkers fitted them without mortar. Kamehameha himself led the work; here he is seen standing next to the bearer of his standard, a feathered kahiki, taking a rock from a workman. 

Chiefs discuss tactics before leading their commoners into battle. The man at right holds a weapon inset with shark teeth (lei o mano).Around his waist is a belly protector of strong matting decorated with feathers. He also holds a throwing spear (ihe). The man facing him holds a stone headed club (newa). Long lances and wooden daggers (pahoa) are seen. 

The Incident of the Splintered Paddle

Kauhi's Last Stand at Kaanapali

The wars were over and the Kingdom of Hawai'i firmly established. At Kamakahonu, his estate at Kailua Village in Kona, Kamehameha devoted his last years to ruling his kingdom as a benevolent and just monarch, encouraging prosperity, conducting business with foreigners, and educating his son, Liholiho, as his successor.

This is a more accurate reconstruction of the moment when Captain James Cook was killed. It is based on the eye witness account of Marine Lt. Molesworth Phillips, a study of the weapons and dress of both sides, and estimates by scientists of the physical setting. Cook was not in breeches and hose, but wearing canvas trousers. He was not on a sandy beach, but was struck down while striding toward the water across a broad lava rock, his spent musket in his right hand.

Left to right:
Kamapua'a, the hog god; a mischievous spirit of rain, moisture and plant life. He was Pele's lover, but in all ways her opposite. Theirs was a stormy relationship. Poliahu, goddess of snowy Mauna Kea -- a sister and a jealous rival to Pele locked in an eternal ice and fire enmity. Kapo and Laka, two personalities of the same spirit -- one a spirit of fertility and sorcery, the other a spirit of the dance. Hi'iaka, a spirit of the dance, was Pele's favorite sister. Pele, appearing as a beautiful young woman and as an old hag. Ka-moho-ali'i, respected elder brother and keeper of the water of life. As a great shark he led Pele to Hawaii. Lonomakua, keeper of the sacred fire sticks, made volcanic fires at Pele's command. Ka-poho-i-kahi-ola, spirit of explosions. Ke-ua-a-ke-po, spirit of the rain of fire. Kane-hekili, spirit of thunder. Ke-o-ahi-kama-kaua, spirit of lava fountains.

She is Pele-honua-mea, Pele of the sacred land. She is Pele-'ai-honua, Pele the eater of land, when she devours the land with her flames. The wars were over and the Kingdom of Hawai'i firmly established.

One of the most dramatic spirits of the Hawaiian pantheon is Pele, goddess of volcanoes.

Mahalo Herb. You will forever be known as the Artist who preserved the history of Hawaii threw your magical paintings. With all the respect and gratitude I salute you and all you have done. 
Aloha Mau Loa.

All images are the PROPERTY of Herb Kawainui Kane.

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