Queen Nzinga with Her Entourage, Kingdom of Kongo, 1670s

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Image Reference

Ezio Bassani, ed., Un Cappuccino nell'Africa nera del seicento: I disegni dei Manoscritti Araldi del Padre Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo [A Capuchin in Black Africa in the Seventeenth Century: Drawings of the Araldi Manuscript of Father Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo] (Milan: Quaderni Poro, no. 4, 1987), plate 25.

The Queen's entourage includes soldiers, a drummer, trumpeters, standard bearers; the Queen is shown holding a bow (see also image Bassani-27). Antonio Cavazzi (b. 1621) was an Italian priest who from 1654 to 1667 joined the Capuchin mission in what is today northern Angola; after a visit to Europe, he returned to Angola, particularly the Kingdom of Kongo, where he remained from 1672 to 1677. He died in Genoa in 1678. Cavazzi made this and other watercolors, the originals of which are in his manuscript, located in a private collection in Modena, Italy (see also "Cavazzi" for other images on this website). Cavazzi's drawings must be among the earliest known eyewitness sketches of African life by a European; they can be contrasted to, for example, the fanciful depictions found in Dapper or by the De Bry brothers (see, "Dapper" and "De Bry" on this website).