Daniel de Silva, Count of Songo, late 17th cent.


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Image Reference
DAP4

Source
D. O. Dapper, Description de l'Afrique . . . Traduite du Flamand (Amsterdam,1686; 1st ed., 1668), p. 356. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)

Comments
De Silva is shown in formal dress, including long bead necklace; a servant (slave?) is at his side. "The Count of Songo is the most powerful of the vassals of the King of Congo . . ." (Dapper, p. 355; our translation). Songo/Sogno was a province of the Kingdom of Kongo. A modified/altered version of this image is in Thomas Astley (ed.), A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels (London, 1745-47), vol. 3, plate 22, facing p. 240. In an informed discussion of Dapper as an historical source, Adam Jones writes "there is virtually no evidence" that Dapper "took much interest in what sort of visual material was to accompany his text," and that it was the publisher, Van Meurs, "who probably did all the engraving himself." With respect to the plates, in particular, Jones concludes: "For those interested in seventeenth-century black Africa rather than in the history of European perceptions, few of the plates showing human beings and artefacts are of any value . . . . [and] originated solely from Van Meurs' imagination . . . .[although] they have been used as historical evidence in modern works" (Decompiling Dapper: A Preliminary Search for Evidence (History in Africa [1990], vol. 17, pp. 187-190).