Residence of King of Kongo, late 17th cent.


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This record was last updated on 27 Jan 2011

Image Reference
3-246

Source
Thomas Astley (ed.), A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels (London, 1745-47), vol. 3, plate 26, facing p. 246; taken from D. O. Dapper, Description de l'Afrique . . . Traduite du Flamand (Amsterdam,1686; 1st ed., 1668), facing p. 242. (Copy in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library)

Comments
King's palace on hilltop (A), overlooking river; also Catholic churches (B), Portuguese fort (C), and spring well with "slaves carrying water to the city"; in foreground, river with large canoes. 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).