Woman with Cutlass or Bill Hook, Peru, 1780s

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Image Reference

Martinez Companon y Bujanda, Trujillo de Peru (Madrid: Ediciones Cultura Hispanica, 1978-1994; acsimile reproduction of manuscripts in the Biblioteca del Palacio Real de Madrid), vol. 2, plate E44

Drawing simply identified as "Negra," shows a black woman holding a bill hook or cutlass in one hand, a wooden staff in another; she appears to be wearing a long dress (or a skirt and chemise) that is sleeveless. This and hundreds of other drawings were done by unidentifed Indians during the 1780s and were commissioned by the Spanish Bishop Baltazar Jaime Martinez Companon during his pastoral visit to the region of Trujillo in northern Peru. The drawings, spread over nine volumes, are of Spaniards, Indians, plants and animals, as well plans and maps of the region. Only Vol. 2 contains a few pictures of blacks, the index to the volume giving very sparse information on each drawing. (See other images Trujillo on this website.)