Women Washing Themselves, Senegal, 1780s
Caption, negresses se lavants (women washing themselves); two women, one carries infant on her back. Soon after giving birth, Villeneuve writes, a woman washes herself and her child in cold water, after which she places the child on a mat and covers it with a loincloth. From the 12th or 15th day, a woman will carry the child on her back, keeping it there almost all day long (pp. 118-119). Villeneuve lived in the Senegal region for about two years in the mid-to-late 1780s. The engravings in his book, he writes, were made from drawings that were mostly done on the spot during his African residence (vol. 1, pp. v-vi). The same illustration appears in color in the English translation of Villeneuve; see Frederic Shoberl (ed.), Africa; containing a description of the manners and customs, with some historical particulars of the Moors of the Zahara . . . (London, 1821), vol. 3, facing p. 81.
Renè Claude Geoffroy de Villeneuve, L'Afrique, ou histoire, moeurs, usages et coutumes des africains: le Sènègal (Paris, 1814), vol. 4, facing p. 119. (Copy in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library)
de Villeneuve, Renè Claude Geoffroy
Image is in the public domain. Metadata is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International.
"Women Washing Themselves, Senegal, 1780s", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed September 25, 2022, http://slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/1669