Creole Men and Women, Jamaica, 1838

Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.
previous image return to thumbnails next image

If you are interested in using this image, please consult Acknowledging the Website.

This record was last updated on 13 May 2016

Image Reference

Isaac Mendes Belisario, Sketches of character, in illustration of the habits, occupation, and costume of the Negro population, in the island of Jamaica: drawn after nature, and in lithography (Kingston, Jamaica: published by the artist, at his residence, 1837-1838).

The artist captions this lithograph Creole Negroes. The woman (upper left) "represents a vender of sausages about the streets, and is selected as an example of the inconsistency frequently observable in the Negro-class, who, while they are engaged in the meanest occupation, are still attentive to the adornment of their person." The woman is shown with an elaborate head-tie, jewelry, and a small blue purse dangling from her waist. In the upper right, the man is wearing "the ordinary costume of the field worker. His Kilmarnock cap, a coarse black hat is also worn; these added to a blue checked shirt, Oznaburgh trowsers, and contoon, or cloak made of dark blue woolen-cloth called Pennistone, complete the ordinary costume." The man on the lower left is also a "field-Negro, shown with similar clothing. The older woman (lower right) wears a head-tie and has "chew-stick" (sometimes, chaw-stick). The pearly whiteness of teeth so universal with the Negroes," Belisario writes, "is in a great measure produced by the constant use of a withe, called chew-stick, which they cut into small pieces, and employ as a tooth-brush . . . it has a bitter juice, of a powerfully detergent quality." For background on the artist, see Belisario01.