People and Culture in Oceania
Online ISSN : 2433-2194
Print ISSN : 1349-5380
Toward the Reutilization of Past Natural History Materials Regarding Tropical Marine Life in the Pacific Islands: Analysis of Watercolor Paintings by Toshio Asaeda from the Crocker Expeditions in the 1930s
Niwa NorioKim Rebekah
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2023 Volume 38 Pages 35-50


Museums and research institutions preserve natural history-related materials that are now rarely used because of the changing academic paradigms and research interests. Among several examples, this study focuses on the watercolor paintings of natural history made during the Crocker expeditions in the 1930s. The expeditions traveled far into the Pacific, recording the natural environment and indigenous cultures of the time in the form of specimens and visual materials. The collection is characterized by a large number of photographs and watercolors of fish created by the Japanese artist, Toshio Asaeda. A collaboration with academic institutions led to the global proliferation of the collection, preventing its comprehensive use. In this study, we analyzed these materials, scattered across museums worldwide, in a cross-sectional manner. Additionally, we identified the time and place of collections and the specific expedition they were a part of, which could only be achieved through a combined survey of materials from multiple museums. The results could pave the way for future utilization of natural history materials, including the Crocker collections housed in several museums.

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© 2023 Japanese Society for Oceanic Studies
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