Metal Face Mask, Brazil, 1820s


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Image Reference
debret-2

Source
A water color by Jean Baptiste Debret (held by a museum in Rio de Janeiro); published in Ana Maria de Moraes, O Brasil dos viajantes (Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, 1994), image 469, p. 93. Also published in Jean Baptiste Debret, Viagem Pitoresca e Historica ao Brasil (Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1989), p.128, a reprint of the 1954 Paris edition, edited by R. De Castro Maya).

Comments
Shows a slave wearing a tin mask over his face; he is "heading" a large ceramic jar. Brazilian slavemasters compelled slaves who were prone to eat earth or dirt to wear such masks. This illustration does not appear to have been published in Debret's, Voyage Pittoresque et Historique au Bresil (Paris,1834-39), although another slave, wearing such a mask, is illustrated in vol. 2, plate 10, captioned "une visite a la campagne" (the image is not shown on this website). For a description of this mask in Brazil, see image reference ewbank3. The engravings in this book were taken from drawings made by Debret during his residence in Brazil from 1816 to 1831. For watercolors by Debret of scenes in Brazil, some of which were incorporated into his Voyage Pittoresque, see Jean Baptiste Debret, Viagem Pitoresca e Historica ao Brasil (Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1989; a reprint of the 1954 Paris edition, edited by R. De Castro Maya).