Arrival of the Flower Ship

  • In 1826, a three-masted British sloop under the command of Captain Frederick Beechey anchored in the warm waters off the coast of Hawaii. On a mapping expedition from the harsh northern latitudes of the Bering Strait, when the crew reached the Pacific Islands, it was like finding paradise. Natives gave the foreigners a friendly welcome, sailing up to the ship with gifts of exotic fruits never before seen by the sailors.
  • Three centuries before Beechey sailed, Francisco Serrano, Magellan's half-brother, a dashing captain loyal to his king, abandoned his royal service to stay on the Sunda Isles. Married, he had several children and adopted the carefree lifestyle of the local people.

The sails on the ship in the painting are orchids, those exotic flowers of southern latitudes. One of the meanings ascribed to the orchid in the Chinese culture is concord, a state of peaceful coexistence. Concordance and good will are the best introduction when people from different latitudes or cultures meet.

By the way, the name of that British ship arriving in Hawaiian Eden was the HMS Blossom...