The aristocrat and his cannibals

Count Festetics de Tolna's voyage to Oceania, 1893-1896

Count Festetics de Tolna’s voyage to Oceania, 1893-1896

Festetics’ first book, ‘Among the Cannibals’, was published in 1903 followed by the publication of the second volume in 1904: ‘Towards the Reef of Minicoy’. These two volumes are filled with fascinating information and fired thousands of their readers with an enthusiasm that lasted for years.

This exhibition ‘The aristocrat and his cannibals’ is designed as the chronicle of a voyage that spanned 12 destinations, selected from Festectics’ writings about the islands and archipelago of Oceania. This itinerary explores the significant aspects of the imaginary, ideological, ethnographic and historical context of the Pacific region in the late 19th century. During the course of his exploration on board his yacht, Tolna, he brought back stories, notes, artefacts and photos.

The catalogue is a quasi-journalistic chronicle of the voyage and the navigation chart serves as a guide for visitors. At each stopover, the reader navigates his way past events, encounters and individuals, in a calmer manner than that in which the talented and perspicacious observer experienced them.


144 pages 22 cm x 28 cm format
ca. 150 illustrations
price : 14 €
ISBN 978-2-915133-61-5 / 978-2-742769-88-9

Co-publication by the musée du quai Branly and Actes Sud

buy this catalogue online

exhibition curators

Roger Boulay and Judit Antoni

Roger Boulay has a PhD in ethnology and was formerly in charge of the oceanic collections in the musée national des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, where he put on the exhibition ‘Kannibals & Vahinés’ After his appointment to run the museography programme in the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Noumea, he is now head of mission for the oceanic collections for the Direction des Musées de France and the museums of Tahiti and New Caledonia with a view to setting up museography installations and patrimony inventory projects.

Judit Antoni is an archaeologist and anthropologist and in 2002 and 2003 she put on an exhibition on the Festetics collection from the Museum of Budapest and the voyage: ‘ A kaland nyomàban, grof Tolnai Festetics Rudolf oceaniai utazasai ‘. She has written an article on Festectics’ voyage in the revue Tribal, 2004 edition.

More information

Click here to discover the exposition.