A Bush Negro (Maroon) Chief, Suriname, ca. 1831


Pierre Jacques Benoit, Voyage a Surinam . . . cent dessins pris sur nature par l'auteur (Bruxelles, 1839), plate xlix, fig. 99. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)


Caption, Un chef en voyage (A Chief on a Trip). When a chief travels in the interior, Benoit writes, he is followed by one or two young blacks, and in his hand he carries the symbol of his office, a long bamboo staff interwoven with large leaves and topped with a pommel or really a sphere/globe, which is somewhat like the staffs carried by our drum majors (p. 62). Benoit(1782-1854), a Belgian artist, visited Suriname around 1831 and apparently stayed for several months. The 100 lithographs in his book (hand colored in the John Carter Brown copy), accompanied by textual descriptions of varying detail, are derived from drawings he made during his visit, which included time in Paramaribo, the capital, as well as trips into the interior visiting Maroons and Amerindians. Forty of his lithographs, with our translations from the French text, are shown on this website.


Benoit, Pierre Jacques

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