Heathen Practices at Funerals
This engraving depicts post-mortem divination practices with the remains of the deceased being used to determine the causes of death, among other questions. In this case, the entire body was used for divination. Phillippo provides a detailed but very ethnocentric description of the West African custom of carrying the corpse. James Mursell Phillippo (1798-1879) was an English Baptist missionary in Jamaica who campaigned for the abolition of slavery. He lived in Jamaica from 1823 until his death in Spanish Town, with periods lobbying in England for funds to support his abolitionist work in the Caribbean. He led the founding of several Free Villages, having gained funds to grant freedmen and their families plots of land for farming independent of planter control. He also wrote and published three books about Jamaica.
James M. Phillippo, Jamaica: Its Past and Present State (London: J. Snow, 1843), facing p. 244.
Image is in the public domain. Metadata is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International.
"Heathen Practices at Funerals", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed January 18, 2021, http://slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/2429