Market Stall and Market Women, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1819-1820

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Image Reference

Henry Chamberlain, Views and costumes of the city and neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from drawings taken by Lieutenant Chamberlain, Royal Artillery, during the years 1819 and 1820, with descriptive explanations (London, 1822). The illustration shown here is taken from the Brazilian (Portuguese) edition, Vistas e costumes de cidade e arredores do Rio de Janeiro em 1819-1820 (Livaria Kosmos, Rio de Janeiro, 1943), p. 105 (plate 4 in the 1822 London edition). (Copy in University of Florida Library, Gainesville)

The author writes that this type of stall is typical of those in the city. Consisting of four upright posts and covered with banana or sugar cane leaves, it is easily set up in the morning and taken down at night. These market stalls usually belong to free women of color who sell poultry, vegetables, root crops and corn; sometimes also bread and fried fish. Also shown (right) is a woman vendor with a tray holding wine and "cachaca, a kind of bad rum, the common spirit of the country"; another woman (left) selling "milho or Indian corn". A black man, carrying a loaded basket on his head (second from left), is playing a "madimba lungungo, an African musical instrument in the shape of a bow, with a wire instead of a string. At the end where the bow is held is fixed an empty calabash or wooden bowl . . . the manner of playing is very simple. The wire being well stretched is gently struck producing a note, which is modulated by the fingers of the other hand pinching the wire in various places ... ." The owner of the stall is shown smoking a long-stemmed pipe (pp. 214-215). The foreground figures in Chamberlain's book were copied from four separate water-colors drawn earlier by Joaquim Candido Guillobel. Born in Portugual in 1787, Guillobel came to Brazil in 1808, and from 1812 started "drawing and painting small pictures on cards of everyday scenes in Rio de Janeiro." For biographical details on Guillobel, who died in 1859, and reproductions of about 60 of his original drawings in color (including the ones shown here), see Joaquim Candido Guillobel, Usos e Costumes do Rio de Janeiro nas figurinhas de Guillobel [1978]. The text of this volume is given in both Portuguese and English; the author of the biographical notes who is, presumably the compiler of the volume, is not given in the Library of Congress copy that was consulted. (See this website, "Chamberlain" for related drawings.)