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The Arts of Kingship: Hawaiian Art and National Culture of the Kalakaua Era


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The Arts of Kingship offers a sustained and detailed account of Hawaiian public art and architecture during the reign of David Kalakaua, the nativist and cosmopolitan ruler of the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1874 to 1891. Stacy Kamehiro provides visual and historical analysis of four key monuments - Kalakaua's coronation and regalia, the King Kamehameha Statue, 'Iolani Palace, and the Hawaiian National Museum - drawing them together in a common historical, political, and cultural frame. Each articulated Hawaiian national identities and navigated the turbulence of colonialism in distinctive ways and has endured as a key cultural symbol.These cultural projects were part of the monarchy's concerted effort to promote a national culture in the face of colonial pressures, internal political divisions, and declining social conditions for Native Hawaiians, which, in combination, posed serious threats to the survival of the nation. Kamehiro interprets the images, spaces, and institutions as articulations of the complex cultural entanglements and creative engagement with international communities that occur with prolonged colonial contact. Nineteenth-century Hawaiian sovereigns celebrated Native tradition, history, and modernity by intertwining indigenous conceptions of superior chiefly leadership with the apparati and symbols of Asian, American, and European rule. Softcover, 266 pages

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