Sea People Tidbit: Paiore's Chart

In 1869, a man named Paiore from the island of Anaa drew this diagram, illustrating the creation of the world. Polynesians did not have a tradition of this kind of illustration and it seems likely that he drew it at the behest of some European who was trying to understand the principles of Tuamotuan cosmogony. These include a beginning in deep darkness (represented here by a small circle of dots at the very bottom of the diagram), and just above that a primordial pair. The male, Te Tumu, is depicted as something that looks a little like a snake, and the female, Te Papa, as a thick black line. Above them rise the generations of plants, animals, gods, humans, and all the other elements of creation, including, interestingly, canoes.

Kenneth P. Emory, “The Tuamotuan Creation Charts by Paiore,” JPS, vol. 48, no. 189 (1939), fig. 2. 

Kenneth P. Emory, “The Tuamotuan Creation Charts by Paiore,” JPS, vol. 48, no. 189 (1939), fig. 2.