Ceremony of Electing or Appointing a Nobleman, Gold Coast, late 16th cent.

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Image Reference

Theodore and Johan Israel De Bry, Indiae Orientalis pars VI [India Orientalis. pt. 6], (Frankfort, 1604), plate 16 (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)

During this ceremony there is a great deal of dancing by the women, the men have fencing tournaments, and an ox, donated by the nobleman, is slaughtered. Nine features are indentified, from A to I; for example, (A) the ox, (B) the newly elected nobleman carried on a chair litter, beneath his feet are two slaves, (G) warriors accompanying the nobleman. 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). (Problems in scanning this volume have resulted in distortions in the left-hand side of the image.)