1838: Matua Tawai

Alexandre Pierre Marie Dumoutier - plaster cast of Matua Tawai, a New Zealander of Ikanamawi (1838)Alexandre Pierre Marie Dumoutier: plaster cast of Matua Tawai, a New Zealander of Ikanamawi (1838)

Moulage sur nature became a powerful freezing and fixation tool used to document a natural and even human hic et nunc status. In the great nineteenth-century scientific undertaking to compile comprehensive classifications, important collections of plaster casts emerged for use in botanical analysis and clinical realism….Plaster casts were used for their supposedly objective accuracy and scientific neutrality to establish comparative repertoires in emerging evolutionary and hereditary theories, and as part of New World exploration and global circumnavigation. They served to document the human skull or a body entire; they helped to develop natural as well as ethnic taxonomies that classified human entities and hierarchies for ethnographic museums, simultaneously emphasizing Eurocentric racial ideologies. (source)

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