An Ethnology of the Kanak People of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands
For the first time translated into English and French, this study by
Swiss scientist Fritz Sarasin (1859 to 1942) presents the anthropological knowledge
of his period in a concise way. The knowledge comes from the collecting voyage he
undertook with his companion Jean Roux, a zoologist. Their publication series, Nova
Caledonia, was finalised by this volume, first published in 1929. It reports on the results
of their ethnological collecting, of Sarasinís subsequent studies of available literature,
and of his analysis of further museum collections in Europe. Sarasin presents his
material in fourteen parts (see ĎContentsí, below).
Sarasinís book is accompanied by seventy-three plates, incorporating 101 field
photographs, twenty-six sketch drawings, and photographs of more than 500
museum objects, mainly from the Sarasin Collection, now housed in the Museum
der Kulturen Basel. Objects from collections in Bordeaux, Rome and Paris, among
others, are also included.
A further thirty-two colour plates have been added. Two additional maps show the
travel route taken by Sarasin and Roux, the languages of New Caledonia and the
Loyalty Islands, and the modern spellings of placenames Sarasin recorded as he
travelled. Moreover, the translators have updated in their notes the scientific names
of natural species, as well as the references to major ethnological studies, published
later but referring to the same facts.
A biographical sketch by Christian Kaufmann, curator at the Museum der Kulturen
Basel, places Fritz Sarasin and Jean Roux into the context of their origins and
their other achievements.
A special introduction by a living Kanak aims to attract readers from across the Pacific
to this new edition, to be published in French and English.
This Ethnology of the Kanak People from New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands, translated
into English by Helen Brinon, and into French by Raymond Ammann and Bernard
Gasser, can be viewed as a companion volume to Felix Speiserís Ethnology of Vanuatu:
An Early Twentieth Century Study (translated from the German by Denis Q. Stephenson,
published by Crawford House in 1991).
73 plates (incorporating 101field photographs, 26sketch drawings, more than500 museum objects); 32colour plates; maps
Portrait; hardcover; c. 520 pages
289 x 214 mm