The Women of the Bounty The Women of the Bounty The Women of the Bounty

In September 1789 after the mutiny and while staying briefly on Tahiti, Fletcher Christian became concerned that some of his men were ready to rebel against him. Spurred also by fear of discovery and arrest from Britain, he made a hurried departure. He and 8 members of the Bounty crew sailed from Tahiti with 6 Polynesian men, 12 Polynesian women and a baby girl.
The Women of the Bounty miniature sheet
Searching for a new home took four months until uncharted Pitcairn was sighted on 15 January 1790. A decision was made on 23 January to burn the Bounty and the fate of all to remain on the island was sealed. The women consorts soon adopted a survival mode by growing crops, fishing, making tapa for warmth and clothing and ensuring Tahitian culture remained an integral part of Pitcairn's identity through music and dance.
Melbourne Stamp and Coin Show 2017
Pauline Reynolds in her "Textile History" article* writes how the production of tapa and gifting "reveals information regarding their social, ritual and innovative activities, and their contribution to the Bounty/Pitcairn story". This activity was exclusively a female role but one that gave them a degree of power, status and prestige (depending on the fineness of the cloth). It also provided an outlet for their creative talents and helped bind social relationships.

Women of the Bounty datestampIn addition to clothing the community, the tapa made by the Bounty Women also made fine tapa for traditional gifting to seafaring visitors. This gave the women an important role in Pitcairn daily life. Also adds Reynolds, "The making and felting of cloth by the women of the Pitcairn community was symbolic of the binding and weaving of relationships, particularly amongst the women and their children". Their innovative designs and experimentation led to unique Pitcairn tapa cloths which are different to those from Tahiti (French Polynesia) and very recognisable today.
Tahiti Stamp
The production of tapa enabled the women to meet regularly and, while speaking in their native tongue, share gossip and stories, as well as frustrations. The work was hard and time consuming but helped develop their strength and athleticism which helped their survival.

Reynolds concludes that the Bounty women were "active agents in their community, playing a dynamic role in shaping the social landscape".

*Tapa Cloths and Beaters: Tradition, Innovation and the Agency of the Bounty Women in Shaping a New Culture on Pitcairn Island from 1790 to 1850. - Pauline Reynolds, 2016.

Women of The Bounty MS FDCWomen of The Bounty FDC

The Women of the Bounty - purchase
Please Note: All prices are in New Zealand Dollars
Miniature sheet
$6.80
Miniature sheet on First Day Cover
$8.30
Miniature sheet with Melbourne Show logo
$6.80 Sorry - Sold Out
Single Tahiti stamp
$1.80 Sorry - Sold Out
Joint cover Tahiti and Bounty Women stamps
$10.10

Technical Details

Designer:
Lucas Kukler, Bangkok, Thailand.

Pitcairn Stamps
proudly brought
to you by:

Bounty Post
Printer: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand
Process: Offset Litho
Stamp size: 40.0 mm x 30.0 mm vertical.
Format: Miniature sheet containing 3 vertical stamps
Perforation Gauge: 13.33 x 13.60
Denominations: $1.80, $2.20 and $2.80
Paper: 106gsm Tullis Russell Red phosphor stamp paper.
Period of Sale:
30 March 2017 for a period of 2 years.