Furness in Borneo and East Asia

By: Alessandro Pezzati

Originally Published in 2012

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Furness is shown here with tattoos inked during his first trip to Japan, photographed in Yokohama. His trips illustrate the spirit of exploration felt by many who contributed to the Penn Museum in its early days.
Furness is shown here with tattoos inked during his first trip to Japan, photographed in Yokohama. His trips illustrate the spirit of exploration felt by many who contributed to the Penn Museum in its early days.

William Henry Furness III, scion of a notable Philadelphia family that included architect Frank Furness and Shakespearean scholar Horace Howard Furness, traveled to Borneo on behalf of the Penn Museum in 1896–1897, together with Alfred C. Harrison, Jr., and Hiram M. Hiller. The purpose was to obtain ethnographic collections for the Museum but also to capture and study the orangutan. He brought orangutans back to the Philadelphia Zoo, and spent years trying to teach them to speak.

Over the course of five trips in seven years, Furness, Harrison, and Hiller made their way twice around the world and visited at least 20 countries, mainly in East Asia, including India, Japan, China, Burma, Thailand, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Russia. They made ethnographic studies of the Dayaks in Borneo, the Nagas in Assam, India, and the Ainu of Japan.

Cite This Article

Pezzati, Alessandro. "Furness in Borneo and East Asia." Expedition Magazine 54, no. 3 (December, 2012): -. Accessed April 16, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/furness-in-borneo-and-east-asia/


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