Settlement and Houses, Miscellaneous Items of Material Culture Krootown (Cape Palmas, Liberia?), mid-19th cent.

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This record was last updated on 09 Sep 2015

Image Reference

Drawings of Western Africa (University of Virginia Library, Special Collections, MSS 14357, no. 18).

Watercolor, crayon, and ink. Captioned “Krootown,” this picture shows nine circular houses with conical thatched roofs extending over the walls (typical of the Liberian Kru and other indigenous people along the so-called Grain Coast), and one rectangular house with a pitched roof (perhaps belonging to an American colonist or missionary); also a sheep or goat (?), two dugout canoes, a wooden mortar and pestle, a water scoop (?), and a rattan basket. A standing figure is carrying two spears; the seated figure is smoking a pipe with a large bowl. A flagpole in the center may be flying the flag of the Maryland in Liberia colony; other drawings by this artist show a similar pole (e.g., UVA10, 13, 25). This drawing may depict the area near the Maryland in Liberia colony at Cape Palmas known as “Kru Town” (e.g., John L. Wilson, Western Africa [New York, 1865], p. 100). 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.