Slave, Farmer, Fisherman, Gold Coast, late 16th cent.

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This record was last updated on 02 Jun 2016

Image Reference

Theodore and Johan Israel De Bry, Indiae Orientalis pars VI [India Orientalis. pt. 6], (Frankfort, 1604), plate I (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)

In the foreground, three men are engaged in different activities: from right to left, a slave ("akoba") going out to gather wood, an "abaffra," a farmer carrying sugar cane and other goods to market, and a fisherman going out to sea with a stool and paddle. In the background, two men carrying a canoe to the water and farmers bringing palm wine to market. 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. 119, 120, 124-25. (Problems in scanning this volume have resulted in distortions in the left-hand side of the image.)