Nāhi'ena'ena (Sister of Kamehameha III), Robert Dampier

Robert Dampier (British, 1800–1874)

Nāhi'ena'ena (Sister of Kamehameha III), 1825

Oil on canvas

Gift of Eliza Lefferts Cooke, Charles M. Cooke III, and Carolene Alexander Cooke Wrenn in memory of Dr. C. Montague Cooke, Jr., 1951 (1067.1)

Nāhi'ena'ena holds a kāhili, or feather standard, emblematic of her rank, and her hair is dressed with a feather lei worn only by the ali'i or chiefs. Draped over her shoulders is a magnificent feather cape, which conceals the black silk dress she reportedly wore when she sat for Dampier. Both her likeness and that of her brother Kamehameha III include vignettes of their kingdom in the background. The vessel moored in the distance is a reference to Hawai'i's position as a Pacific port of call for Western travelers.

 

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