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The Painted KingArt, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawaii$
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Glenn Wharton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834951

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834951.001.0001

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A Painted King

A Painted King

(p.1) 1 A Painted King
The Painted King

Glenn Wharton

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter describes the monument of King Kamehameha—the chief celebrated for uniting the Hawaiian archipelago in the late eighteenth century and who later became Hawaii's first king—in Kapaʻau. The figure was painted in bright colors by the residents. Kamehameha's skin is brown, his hair is black, and his cloak is yellow. He has white toenails and fingernails, and penetrating black eyes with small white brush strokes for highlights; hence, the figure is similar to a piece of folk art than a nineteenth-century heroic monument. In addition, there is paint on the figure. No one knows the original coating of the monument, but some art historians suggests that the skin was chemically patinated brown and the feathered garments were gold-leafed.

Keywords:   King Kamehameha, Hawaii, heroic monument, art historians, gold-leafed

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