Metal Working and Charcoal Making (Liberia?), mid-19th cent.

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 09 Sep 2015

Image Reference

Drawings of Western Africa (University of Virginia Library, Special Collections, MSS 14357, no. 15).

Ink, colored pencil and watercolor. A composite scene. A smith and his helper/apprentice are working over a forge; the smith is pounding/shaping a projectile point or knife blade, held by his helper, on what appears to be a tree stump serving as an anvil. Two men are felling trees with axes (perhaps cutting firewood or clearing the forest for farm land), and two others are making charcoal; one of the latter is tending the fire while the other is dousing the fire with water from what appears to be a calabash container. A European ship is in the background. The axes shown are characteristic of some of the native peoples of Liberia (e.g., George Schwab, Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland [Peabody Museum, Harvard University, 1947], 56 and fig. 65b; Samuel Williams, Four Years in Liberia [Philadelphia, 1857]. p. 40). This is one of 22 works displayed on this website of West African coastal scenes -- out of a total of 32 -- held by University of Virginia Library. None of the works is dated or signed, and they seem to have been done by at least two different persons (perhaps associated with missionary activities in West Africa and/or the American Colonization Society). See also other image references “UVA” on this website.