Funeral, Gold Coast

Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.
previous image return to thumbnails next image

If you are interested in using this image, please consult Acknowledging the Website.

This record was last updated on 18 Jan 2011

Image Reference

Edward Cavendish Drake, A new universal collection of authentic and entertaining voyages and travels, from the earliest accounts to the present time (London, 1770), facing p. 521. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)

Captioned "The Ceremony of a Negro Funeral," this engraving accompanies Francis Moore's account, Travels into the Inland Parts of Africa," pp. 519-532 (see also, Thomas Astley, ed., A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels [London, 1745-47; vol. 2]). The illustration, however, is not described in Drake's text; it shows the procession, the corpse carried in a litter and various members of the procession playing musical instruments. A virtually identical engraving is in Bernard Picart, Ceremonies et Coutumes Religieuses de tous les Peuples Du Monde (Amsterdam, 1789), vol. 1, plate 67, facing p. 131 (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library). All these versions ultimately derive from an engraving done by the Flemish brothers, Johan Theodore and Johan Israel De Bry, which was first published in the early 17th century (Orientalische Indien [Frankfort, 1603; German edition]; India Orientalis [Frankfort, 1604; Latin edition] vol. 6, plate 18). The De Brys had never visited Africa and constructed their illustrations of Africans from the late 16th century eye-witness accounts by the Dutchman Pieter de Marees of the Gold Coast, and by the Portuguese Duarte Lopez of the kingdom of Kongo. For an extended discussion of the De Brys' illustrations of Africa and their sources, see Ernst van den Boogaart, De Brys' Africa, in Susanna Burghartz, ed., Inszenierte Welten: Die west-und ostindischen reisen der verleger de Bry, 1590-1630 [Staging New Worlds: De Brys' Illustrated Travel Reports, 1590-1630] (Basel, 2004), pp. 95-149; for this image in particular, see pp. 136-137 in which the details, identified by letters of the alphabet shown on the engraving, are described.