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Oceanic Art - Books (going to the source)

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I'm sitting here with the Fairfax County libray copy of Nicholas Thomas' "Oceanic Art," taking the time to consider the source of all this Tiki devotion.

Often I have considered purchasing a more comprehensive overview of the oceanic arts and was looking at the Amazon offerings.

Does anyone have any opinions on books that offer the best visuals (I'm not ready to read any art history criticism) of Oceanic or Polynesian art?

Amazon offers the Thomas book (very small and not very colorful). They also have books by Anthony J. P. Meyer and Adrienne L. Kaeppler. But these are big (i.e., expensive books) and I thought I would troll for opinions first.


the amazon listings are:




I have a copy of the weighty Anthony JP Meyer book and its very informative lots of good pictures, but a bit biased towards melanesia, good bit on polynesia but only a tiny bit on micronesia.
I found my copy in a bargin discount bookstore for a tenner so it might be worth checking out any of your local stores before forking out a fortune to amazon

My fave books on Oceanic Art:

Arts of the South Seas: The Collections of the Musee Berbier-Mueller, edited by Dougless Newton (Prestel, 1999, $75).

Oceanic Art, Herbert Tischner, (Pantheon Books, 1954)

Hawaiian Sculpture, J. Halley Cox / William Devenport (U of Hawaii Press, 1974, 1988).

The Art of Easter Island (by Thor Heyerdahl... this thing is like 1200 pages and really rare!) Published in the '70's.

The Book of Tiki! (Taschen)



Tiki Chris & I also scored the Anthony J P Meyer book cheaply over here in the UK, where it crops up in discount book shops regularly. I think the publishers went the Taschen route of printing large numbers of tri-lingual books and then flooded the bookshops of Europe with them. This is great for the consumer as you end up getting books of incredible quality for very little $$$.

The Meyer book is wonderful, though it could do with extended chapters on the more Tiki islands. Perhaps BigBro could bring a few cheap copies back from Hamburg! (Just kidding....I had trouble just carrying it home. The sucker is huge, even in the single volume edition).

A good little book is 'Oceanic Arts' published by Thames & Hudson. Lot's of pictures/photos, and not very expensive.

Finally, try out old National Geographics. You can pick 'em up for a pittance (people hate actually throwing them away), and Hawaii/Polynesia crops up with stunning regularity. Maybe that's where they send their correspondents when they've been good.

Trader Woody


hey, if you order books from amazon.com ~ be sure to go thru Hanford's site.. so he gets the the Associates' cut..


Zeta posted on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 1:06 AM

Oceania by Jean Guiart

ok, i don't want to start a bank run on JP Meyer's book, but Konemann Verlag, the publisher went bankrupt. the new york subsidiary was functioning for a while to clear out old stocks of the english editions. all operations have now ceased. Ulmann bought some of the catalog, unsure if these include the JP Meyer title.

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