Women's Clothing Styles, Kingdom of Kongo, late 16th cent.

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This record was last updated on 27 Jan 2011

Image Reference

Thomas Astley (ed.), A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels (London, 1745-47), vol. 3, plate xiv, between pp. 248 and 249. (Copy in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library)

An artist's imagined scene, titled, "Dress of the Women at Kongo"; bottom caption, from right to left (see numbers), "the better sort," "middle sort," "vulgar and slaves". This image was originally done by the Flemish engravers, the brothers Johan Theodore and Johan Israel De Bry, and was first published in the early 17th century (Orientalische Indien [Frankfort, 1597; German edition]; India Orientalis [Frankfort, 1598; Latin edition] vol. 1, plate 5). The De Brys had never visited Africa and constructed their illustrations of Africans from the late 16th century eye-witness accounts by the Dutchman Pieter de Marees of the Gold Coast, and by the Portuguese Duarte Lopez of the kingdom of Kongo. For an extended discussion of the De Brys' illustrations of Africa and their sources, see Ernst van den Boogaart, De Brys' Africa, in Susanna Burghartz, ed., Inszenierte Welten: Die west-und ostindischen reisen der verleger de Bry, 1590-1630 [Staging New Worlds: De Brys' Illustrated Travel Reports, 1590-1630] (Basel, 2004), pp. 95-149; for this image in particular, see pp. 105-106.