The Taste of Others: Finery, The Slave Trade, and Africa’s Place in the Traffic in Early Modern Things

Cécile Fromont

“Andris Macaye Mafouque le Juste de Cabinde.” This inscription appears within a flowing ribbon engraved on a large silver ceremonial sword produced, according to its hallmarks, in France’s port city of La Rochelle between 1775 and 1777 (Figure 11.1).1 These words are not the only unexpected feature for museumgoers facing the luxurious object centrally displayed in the city’s Musee du Nouveau Monde. While its gadrooned handle and flower garland decorations fit well within France’s late eighteenth-century silver-smithing style, its broad blade, cut out orthogonally at its top and enhanced with thin geometric elements welded to its edge, makes it at odds with European templates of functional, ceremonial, or even decorative weaponry. In fact, the blade’s features are typical of ceremonial knives known as bimpada (sing, kimpada), used as emblems of status since at least the eighteenth century in west central Africa — the region recorded in the inscription by the place name Cabinde i.e. Cabinda.2 Artists from this area around the Congo River’s estuary created bimpada locally in wood or various metals (Figure 11.2). Oral history, inscriptions, or formal attributes also indicate that other examples came to central Africa from Europe as diplomatic or commercial gifts. The sword from La Rochelle is the oldest, most intricate, and best contextualized among them.3

If the identification of the Musee du Nouveau Monde kimpada may not be difficult for those familiar with west central African visual culture, its form, inscription, and itineraries are riddles for most of its twenty-first-century European viewers. Each aspect challenges preconceptions about Africa and its material and aesthetic interactions with Europe in the early modern period, an era in large part defined in the Atlantic world by the transoceanic traffic in enslaved men and women from its shores to the Americas. Instead

1 Research for this essay was made possible by The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, and support for the image reproduction costs came from the History of Art department at Yale. I am grateful for the transformative feedback I received from Paula Findlen, Molly Warsh, Surekha Davies, and the members of Stanford’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies Workshop. Many thanks to Sophia Kitlinski for her rigorous research and editing support. My thanks to Claire Bosc-Tiesse for calling my attention to the La Rochelle kimpada.

Unknown maker from La Rochelle, kimpada ceremonial knife, around 1776, silver, 51 cm long

Figure 11.1 Unknown maker from La Rochelle, kimpada ceremonial knife, around 1776, silver, 51 cm long.

Source: Musée du Nouveau Monde de La Rochelle, inv. MNM 205.3.1. © Max Roy — Collection Musées d’Art et d’Histoire de La Rochelle.

Unknown maker from west central Africa, kintpada ceremonial knife collected before 1878, wood, 53 cm long, Carlos Ladeira

Figure 11.2 Unknown maker from west central Africa, kintpada ceremonial knife collected before 1878, wood, 53 cm long, Carlos Ladeira.

Source: © Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa (Portugal).

of presenting Europe and Africa as two distant worlds at odds with each other, linked merely by the economic transactions of the slave trade, the sword positions the two regions as poles of a closely interconnected space within which objects, motifs, and the ideas they materialized flowed lithely. It shows how European artisans emulated examples brought from overseas to their workshops either in kind or in image to craft objects inspired by African forms and fit to please African patrons. Related examples made at the mouth of the Congo River and including elements of European decorative arts, in turn, demonstrate the ways in which African artists translated the designs and motifs that goldsmiths from France or Portugal once articulated in their exported creations into new forms of their own. What unfolded in the process was a sophisticated, cumulative, cross-Atlantic back-and-forth of elite material goods and aesthetic conceptions.

Pleasing the Mafouque

Inscription, form, and date identify the intended recipient of the kimpada from La Rochelle. They refer to Andres Pukuta, who held concurrently the functions of mkaya (Macaye) and mafuka (Mafouque) on the west central African Loango coast, positions that made him one of the highest dignitaries on the northern shore of the Congo River’s mouth.4 As mafuka, Andres oversaw the activities of Europeans engaged in commerce in the region. This role made him the recipient of lavish gifts through which merchants hailing from different ports in Europe competed for his good graces. He was the one, indeed, who set the price of European commodities, settled trade disputes, and collected taxes on behalf of the local king. Travelers’ memoirs and merchants’ inventories recorded the “coral, silverware, carpets and other furniture, more or less precious,” 3 “very fine silverware, including two large silver fountains with four taps each,”6 and “luxury [...] toile, calico, silk, cloth, even velvet”7 that flowed from overseas into the hands of Andres and other members of the west central African elite.

The spectacular rituals surrounding Andres’ passing from the world of the living to the world of the dead bore witness to the material wealth he accumulated during a lifetime of dealings with traders and clients from near and far. One of the merchants, Frenchman Louis Ohier de Grandpre, active on the coast of central Africa in 1786—1787, witnessed Andres’ lavish funeral and illustrated it with two engravings in his 1801 publication Toyage à la Côte d’Angole.8 The first image describes the mourning ceremonies preceding the burial of the great man.9 The second shows the monumental funerary bundle surrounding the body of Andres, a bundle made in part of imported cloth and proportional in size and splendor to the wealth and prestige the mafuka had accumulated during his lifetime.10 (Figure 11.3) Later visual documentation of the areas around Loango, for example twentieth-century ethnographic photographs such as the ones missionary-ethnographer Joaquim Martins published in the 1970s, testify to the lasting, deep significance of such worldly collections of objects as insignia as well as funerary furnishing on the tombs of the elite.11

The items merchants brought to the African Atlantic coast encompassed things of exotic flair as well as custom-made creations such as the kimpada from La Rochelle or more modest imitations of local finery. The cargo of French ship La Manette which traded around the mouth of the Congo River in 1790, for instance, included some “cat skins” its crew bestowed upon their central African interlocutors. This unusual load responded to the use of similar feline furs in central Africa where they served as insignia. The print depicting Andres’ burial showcase the furs that elite attendant wore attached to the front of their legs12 (Figure 12.3). Having brought the proper combination of fine things, thanks to appropriate knowledge and preparation, European traders would gain the assent of the mafuka and of those holding his position elsewhere on the African Atlantic coast to conduct commerce

Jean-Baptiste Michel

Figure 11.3 Jean-Baptiste Michel, View of the Cabinda Mountain, from the North, in Louis Marie Joseph de Grandpre, Voyage à la Côte Occidentale d’Afrique fait dans les années 1786 et 1787, Paris, 1801, volume II, page 152.

Source: Photo: Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston.

on their shores. The seafarers would then see the principal commodity they sought flow in return into their ships’ cargo holds: men and women destined to enslaved labor principally in the Americas.

This attentive, reciprocal engagement between Europeans and Africans around the Atlantic through the exchange of fine things, an engagement entangled with the slave trade, was not merely the hallmark of the later decades of the early modern period. On the contrary, the circulation of elite objects and the parallel traffic in enslaved people emerged as cornerstones of the Atlantic system since its inception. Focusing on the central African context, this chapter outlines how the entrance of the region’s elite into the commercial, political, and religious networks of the Atlantic world circa 1500 immediately lead to its participation into the two interrelated, global realms of luxury exchange and human trafficking. On the one hand, the great men and women of central Africa joined the early modern culture of collecting at its highest levels, sending, and receiving prized and rare items. On the other hand, by bestowing and accepting fine and curious things, the same leaders dove into the crosscurrents of commercial and geopolitical flows in which the movement in finery participated in and in many regards sustained the abject cross-Atlantic trade in human chattel.

Shedding light on Africa and Africans’ little-studied role in the early modern global networks of luxury exchange and collecting within the context of the slave trade, this chapter aims to counter some enduring misconceptions. It challenges the idea that commerce on the African coast relied only on trifles (items of little values in the eyes of Europeans) and occasionally on slightly more sophisticated gifts that easily swayed unsophisticated local elites. It argues, in contrast, that the establishment and practice of trade also involved carefully chosen, rare items and at times goods custom-made for individuals, circulating in and out of Africa in sophisticated exchanges that made the elite of the continent full participants in the global early modern culture of collecting and networks of taste and design.

An invisible exchange

The transcontinental flow in curiosities, fineries, and artistic forms as well as its material traces have remained largely invisible in studies of and approaches to the history of Africa and the Atlantic world in the early modern period. Scholarship on Africa’s participation in long-distance commerce during that era has focused instead on the slave trade through quantitative descriptions of commodity transfers considered at a macro level for their monetary or exchange value.13 The main goal of these important studies has been to explore the impact of the slave trade on the economic development or underdevelopment of the continent and to analyze the motivations either economic or political of Africans involved in the trade.14

Qualitative studies of the same sources have remained coarse-grained in their analysis of the material characteristics of the items traded on the African coast against human cargo.15 At the core of this scholarship are explicit or implicit attempts to elucidate the paradoxes of a commerce based on asymmetric or incommensurate systems of valuation. European writings of the slave trade era routinely evoked the seafaring merchants’ baffling, wondrous even, ability to buy things they considered of great economic value from Africans in exchange for trifles or trinkets.16 Contemporary interpreters ascribed the cause of this mismatch to an inability on the part of Africans to think and act rationally. Such considerations would play a central role in the construction and enduring impact of early modern European discourses about Africa and Africans as other, irrational, and eventually ripe for exploitation.17 The concept of the fetish, for instance, emerged in this context as a term to describe objects Africans held in great esteem but Europeans considered materially, economically, and spiritually trivial. The descriptive idiom that soon grew into an analytical term and has cast a long shadow over outside perceptions of the continent emerged precisely from reckonings with this issue of incommensurability of value in the realms of commerce, religious, but also, I would add, aesthetics.18

Historians of diplomacy have been the ones interrogating the bestowal of fine items to African elite, which they considered through the lens of courtly gifting.19 They listed and identified some of the luxury goods that arrived on the continent to explore the role these objects played as vectors of power relations as well as sites of frequent cross-cultural misunderstanding.20 Much concerned with the reception of foreign pieces in different areas of the African continent, they paid less attention to the shaping role of African taste and its impact on the choice or conception of the objects brought to the continent’s shores.21

Scholars of African material and visual cultures, in turn, moved by an imperative to correct misconceptions of the continent as ahistorical and unrefined, have focused their attention on the description and analysis of objects and practices that testify to the depth and sophistication of artistic traditions wholly indigenous to the continent. This agenda has left at the far margins of the canon of African art history creations visibly shaped by cross-cultural exchange, such as the ones considered in this chapter. Since the 2010s, however, renewed scholarly interest has emerged in exploring cross-cultural interactions within the continent as well as beyond its shores.-“ In earlier decades, studies on Afro-Portuguese ivories African artists created between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century for the cabinets of curiosity and treasure rooms of elite European patrons had also been a relevant exception pertaining to early modern studies. Multiple exhibitions, books, and articles have reflected on their provenance, uses, and status in European early modern and contemporary contexts.23 Yet, as art historian Ingrid Greenfield underlines in her research, these studies have paid but too little attention to the multivalent connections of these artworks with the slave trade.24

These historiographical trends have made even as spectacular an object as the kimpada from La Rochelle an enigmatic curiosity that has remained unstudied. And bimpada are only one category among a broad, and heretofore largely under-examined corpus of similarly conceived metalwork, textiles, and luxury goods created in the context of the commercial and human ebbs and flows that linked the Atlantic coast of Africa to Europe and the Americas all along the early modern period. They exemplify the extravagantly luxurious, intricately designed, and often personalized items that European traders bestowed to their African interlocutors during the era of the Atlantic slave trade. These precious goods came alongside carefully composed bundles that merchants put together to buy enslaved men and women along the African coast. They calibrated the contents of these packets to maximize profit, but with a keen eye on the discerning and rapidly changing tastes of African interlocutors such as Andres and the local traders over whom he held authority. The bundles’ contents varied from port to port according to local tastes, needs, and preferences. They included a dazzling array of items from the four corners of the world. Archeological investigations have uncovered for instance many traces of Chinese porcelain use in seventeenth-century West Africa.25 The Chevalier des Marchais, a French merchant reporting from the West African kingdom of Hueda (Ouidah) in the early eighteenth century, mentioned the fine silverware, which he implied was European-made, that

The taste of others 279 the local king used.26 The same ruler also enjoyed Japanese red silk robes, listed as imports to his court in a 1698 document.27 At the turn of the nineteenth century, King Adandozan of neighboring Dahomey, upon negotiating an alliance with the Luso-Brazilian crown, demanded from his Portuguese interlocutors transfers of technology, specifically specialists in gun and canon making, as well as “30 big hats in different colours with great plumes and 20 pieces of silk.”28

Subsequently, the imported items became key features of local visual and material culture along the African coast. Modest objects and consumer goods participated in changing local habits and practices of everyday life, first among which sartorial customs. Tobacco and imported smoking pipes for example became ubiquitous features of central Africa by the seventeenth century.29 Other key items, either rare or striking to local aesthetic or religious sensibilities, became central parts of the fabric of power and prestige as regalia, religious paraphernalia, or markers of social rank. I have demonstrated elsewhere how relatively cheap and otherwise unremarkable blue and white checkered cloth for instance became in west central Africa a key emblem of status used alongside the most refined and well-considered local regalia.30 Other types of imported elements and motifs also found their way into local artistic productions and ritual practices, such as the imported mirrors, nails, chains, and padlocks enhancing power figures in nineteenth-century Kongo.31

To use the words of Adandozan, he sought to collect these rare and exotic things

because [he] wantfed] to have all these things to cause admiration in [his] people, for them to say to themselves: my King does not know how to read and write, but how does he own so many beautiful things of the white?32

His formulation makes clear that his interest in imported items was not mimicry or a conscious or unconscious desire to imitate “the white.” 33 It was not either the stand of a creolized ruler seeking objects that would participate seamlessly into a novel, outward looking, visual, political, and material environment. Adandozan’s impulse, instead, is strikingly similar to that behind the making of early modern cabinets of curiosities, gathering remarkable and visibly foreign things as statements of a ruler’s power, sophistication, and worldly reach. In fact, Adandozan is only one of a long, centuries-old list of African rulers with deep interest and active involvement in global networks of luxury exchange.

Contact, exchange, and traffic: luxury, aesthetics, and the slave trade

The flow of rare and precious objects in and out of central Africa goes back to the first moments of interaction between the region’s elite and the long distance commercial, material, and religious networks of the Atlantic world. The circulation across the globe of wondrous, rare things bought or exchanged as curiosity or exotica has received much attention in scholarship on the early modern period.34 Although less has been written on the topic, the African elite too received and bestowed rare artifacts across long distances. In the early modern period as in the deeper past, traffic in finery played a central role in the establishment and sustaining of relationships between African polities and faraway interlocutors.35

A sixteenth-century print helps us visualize the onset of such a relationship between an African court - that of the Kongo — and newly arrived visitors from overseas, eager to establish themselves as privileged trade partners (Figure 11.4). The engraving is a fanciful European image created a century after the period of early encounters in the 1490s it supposedly describes. It was made wholly in Europe as an illustration for the 1598 Latin edition of Portuguese merchant Duarte Lopes’ chronicles of his travels to Kongo in the 1570s.36 With the benefit of hindsight, the print synthesizes in a single frame events,

Johann Theodor de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry

Figure 11.4 Johann Theodor de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, First Encounter of the Portuguese with the Ruler of Soyo and his Baptism, in Duarte Lopes and Filippo Pigafetta, Regnum Congo, hoc est, Vera descriptio regni African!: qvod tain ab incolis qvam Lvsitanis Congus appellatur, Frankfurt, 1598, leones section, plate 1.

Source: Photo: John Carter Brown Library, Brown University.

The taste of others 281 objects, and interactions that had become by the mid-sixteenth-century emblematic of the kingdom of Kongo’s story of encounter with Portugal and its visual, material, and religious cultures, a story central Africans formulated for their own purposes and that Lopes retold in the publication.

The engraving thus not only helps us visualize the spectacle that the novelties brought about by the arrival of the Portuguese created on central African shores circa 1500 but to some extent also gives us a Kongo version of the happenings, albeit mediated through multiple Europeans retellings. Large ships, the image tells us, brought to the Kongo myriad new objects from shiny metal shields to helmets, weapons, and colorful textiles. Catholic artworks, vestments, paraphernalia, and architecture particularly capture the attention of the members of the Kongo elite depicted here, somewhat anachronisti-cally, wearing what had become by the time of Lopes’ visit their typical mix of local and imported pieces of clothing. The African man to the far right of the image observes and directs carpenters building the central church’s pitched roof. Another Kongo man in front of him wearing a raffia wrapper plants a pillar to advance the construction, illustrating a key episode in the conversion story of the Kongo to Catholicism in which the nobility themselves set off to build Christian temples with their own bare hands.37 Behind the Portuguese soldiers pictured at the bottom left, a group of Kongo men receive instruction from a friar using the typically Franciscan visual method of catechization the friars honed for their overseas missions.38 Their relaxed pose makes them look less like awed, humble catechumens and more like curious viewers, confidently observing and assessing the altarpieces and liturgical paraphernalia that the foreign ritual practitioners brought with them.

Goods of luxurious material and spectacular workmanship traveled with Iberian explorers and missionaries as gifts from their kings aimed at dazzling newly encountered people and at demonstrating the power and munificence of the European monarchs. Cost was always a concern in these expeditions, but so was the need to demonstrate one’s rulers might by showcasing through luxury goods and profuse generosity his access to and excess of exquisite goods.39 A striking example from 1561, for instance, documents how Portuguese Jesuits brought to the Southern African kingdom of Mutapa or Monomotapa an Ecce Homo feather painting, almost certainly made in Mexico.4" The object has not survived or has not been identified but likely resembled the Mass of Saint Gregory panel Mexican artists working in the Franciscan convent of San José de los Naturales in Mexico City created in 1539 for Pope Paul III (Figure 11.5). The visual and the material, kings and clerics alike understood, were key to long-distance, cross-cultural dialogue.

A set of instructions Portuguese monarch Dom Manuel gave in 1512 to his envoy to the king of Kongo, a noble from his own household named Simao da Silva, detailed exactly the attention given in these early encounters to gifts and gift giving as well as their expected results. The documents, kept in Lisbon’s national archives, outline the strategic use of words and objects in the establishment of propitious relations between the two faraway monarchs. The process not only relied on the display and bestowal of fine items but also

Unnamed artistes) from New Spain, Mass of Saint Gregory (1539). Feather mosaic, 68 x 56 cm

Figure 11.5 Unnamed artistes) from New Spain, Mass of Saint Gregory (1539). Feather mosaic, 68 x 56 cm.

Source: Audi, Musée des Jacobins (inv. no. 986.1.1).

hinged on their choreographed presentation aimed at impressing and, at least in this case, at threatening overseas interlocutors. Dom Simao had directives, upon encountering the African king, first to give him the letter and greetings that his Iberian counterpart sent to him as a fellow Christian ruler. “After you have given him our letters,” Dom Manuel continued:

right away time permitting, and if not the very next day, you shall present and give all the things that we sent for him, which Alvaro Lopes brings, who shall be there with you along with his secretary while you give them, to open the coffers in which they are.41

The gifts to be presented to the African monarch thus travelled in several trunks, which opening required the presence of three Portuguese envoys. Reading through the lines of the instructions, it is easy to imagine the three men simultaneously opening the three coffers or taking turns to present them one by one in a choreographed display of abundance and munificence. The directions to the diplomats also demanded that they talked during that encounter with the Kongo king about the great deeds of the Portuguese monarch in India. The objects presented to the court ofSao Salvador thus arrived framed in profuse lore, embedding them within the broadest global horizons. The pieces that came in the coffers did not enter the Kongo court as mysterious cyphers without provenance or attribution. On the contrary, information about their artistic and economic value as well as origins in Europe, the Americas, India, or elsewhere, travelled closely attached to them.

We do not need to guess the contents of coffers. Documents from 1512 list the items Manuel of Portugal ordered to accompany his diplomatic — as well as, we shall see, commercial — mission to the Kongo. The trunks held “many church ornaments and vestments like chalices, crosses, cruets, thuribles of white and gilded silver, brass, and copper, painted altarpieces and bells.”42 A subsequent itemized inventory in preparation for the trip specifies even further the number and type of artworks. It mentioned “5 altarpieces 5 palms wide and 7 palms high”43 i.e. paintings on wood panels about 110 cm large and 154 cm high; 6 antependia or frontals for altars made of painted “Indian cloth” among which “3 of our Lord crucified with the Virgin and Saint John on them. Two of Our Lady carrying a child, and one of Santiago or Saint James with his shells.”44 It also recorded the procurement of “altar cloths, 3 silk vestments with albs, 3 linen vestments with their albs, 3 chalices, 6 altar stones, candleholders, lamps, bells, basins, brass incensories, well-made painted wooden crosses, with crucifixes painted on them.”4’ If a large part of the precious goods sent had a liturgical function, the fineries also included lay objects, with an emphasis on clothing, personal accessories, and items of political regalia such as a gilded sword, flags for battle, and seals to authenticate documents.

None of the objects sent to central Africa in the early years of contact between Portugal and the Kongo have been identified. Historical archeology may one day uncover some of these early items, but it is also possible that none survived. Yet, bringing together multiple types of sources through archival and museum research, it is possible, as this chapter illustrates, to draw an adequate picture of the objects and artworks sent from Lisbon to the Kongo.46

The reign of Manuel I of Portugal (r. 1495—1521) was a moment of great artistic efflorescence in the country, a dynamism connected in many regards to the kingdom’s overseas activities. At a pragmatic level, the administrations of the Casa da Mina, the department in charge of the country’s overseas endeavors, and that of the royal works, in charge of artistic commissions, operated in close concert. The former, of course, also played a key role in the financing of the latter. Royal patronage of artworks, and royal plans for the overseas involved a relatively small number of people who interacted with each other in their administrative activities as well as at court. Lisbon at the time was a vibrantly cosmopolitan city, with Africans making up a sizeable portion of the population and holding social positions ranging from prominent courtiers to enslaved laborers.47

The great painters of the Manueline era lived in that world. Artist Jorge Afonso, for instance, bought an elegant house that belonged previously to free Africans and saw one of his sons leave for India. He and his fellow painters also witnessed during their work at court people and luxury goods flowing in and out of Lisbon from and to Africa. The artworks they produced amply demonstrated that such presence held significance for them and their patrons. African men and objects routinely appear in their paintings. For example, Jorge Afonso’s circa 1517—1530 altarpiece for the Convento de Jesus in Setubal features in one panel an African Magus who holds what may be an Afro-Portuguese ivory saltcellar (Figure 11.6). Another scene in the retable depicts the martyrdom of Franciscan friars in Morroco to the hands of North African men.48

Jorge Afonso, Adoration of the Magi, oil on panel, 195 x 109 cm. Museum of Setubal, Portugal (inv. 4)

Figure 11.6 Jorge Afonso, Adoration of the Magi, oil on panel, 195 x 109 cm. Museum of Setubal, Portugal (inv. 4).

Source: Photo: Pedro Aboim Borges/Camara Municipal de Setubal.

Underlining the connections between African people and motifs in Manueline art brings to the fore the reciprocal impact of the encounter between Portugal and Kongo, in which both sides welcomed each other’s artistic novelties. It also highlights how the realm of art and the realm of overseas endeavors were far from distinct and how painters such as Jorge Afonso operated at their crossroads. In fact, the same 1512 five-ship cargo Manuel I dispatched to the Kongo included a painting of the coat of arms of the King of Kongo that had been designed at the African monarch’s request in Portugal. The design is known to us through written descriptions the African king penned later that year as well as visually through its inclusion in a 1548 Portuguese armorial.49 At the time, in 1512, Jorge Afonso worked for King Manuel I as one of nine heralds in charge of keeping and designing coats of arms.50 His title of Arauto Malacca indicates a specialization in the overseas, and he may well have been involved in the design of the Kongo’s heraldic emblem. It seems at a minimum likely that he would have been aware of it. Royally sponsored workshops such as that of Jorge Afonso had thus many connections with the overseas projects and their visual dimensions. It is in their midst that the altarpieces sent to the Kongo would have been painted. The iconography and the listed panel sizes in the 1512 checklist (110 x 150 cm) fit with the type of works known from Jorge Afonso’s and other related ateliers. Considering their production thus gives a good sense of the artworks that arrived in the Kongo around 1500.

Once in central Africa, the liturgical objects and artworks would find their place within an emerging Kongo Christian visual culture. From that moment circa 1500 and for nearly 400 years, churches using local construction techniques or European-inspired brick and mortar rose over the landscape of the newly converted land, marking it as Christian.51 Their interiors mixed imported paintings and paraphernalia with locally made objects, such as copper alloy crucifixes and saint figures. Access to and possession of Christian objects, in particular those worn around the body became in the kingdom, became a mark of social status and political legitimacy. Rows upon rows of rosaries around the neck, medals, crucifixes, and staffs with crosses combined with great length of imported textiles wrapped about their bodies formed personal, moveable collections of finery through which members of the elite demonstrated their prestige.52 Emblems of Kongo royalty included a similar, albeit more rarefied, combination of locally grounded and once foreign items. The crown also kept a collection of exotic treasures from which it drew in the conduct of diplomacy. To accompany the embassy, he sent to seek alliance with the governor of Dutch Brazil in 1642, for instance, King Garcia II of Kongo chose in his royal treasury a gold necklace, precious stones, and “a large silver plate” made in Potosí, Peru around 1586.53 The precious metal dish would continue its travels around the Atlantic world and become as a gift from the former governor of Dutch Brazil, a baptismal font in a church in Siegen, in today’s Germany.

The Manueline era Portuguese visits to central Africa marked an early moment in the emergence of the Kongo’s engagement with worldly goods as well as the simultaneous rise in interest from outsiders in the trade in central African items. The instructions of King Manuel I show that the Portuguese expected to acquire much from central Africa. The Iberian monarch explicitly ordered his envoys not to bother the king of Kongo with personal requests for gifts, as he knew it had been an issue with Iberian visitors in the past.34 Indeed, delicate raffia fiber textiles and intricately carved ivories travelled back from central Africa to Europe where they were prized items, admired, and sought after among the elite. One of the very first visitors from the Kongo to Portugal, Kasuta, also known by his baptismal name ofjoao da Silva, brought to Lisbon in 1489, on behalf of his king, presents that caused a sensation. He presented to the court “elephant teeth and objects of worked ivory and many well woven palm textiles with fine colors,” chroniclers Rui de Pina and Garcia de Resende, who were both present at the time of the reception, later reported.55 These early gifts from the Kongo to Portugal have not survived to this day or have not yet been located, but it is known that they captivated Portuguese viewers who paid close attention to their design and mode of manufacture. “In this kingdom of Kongo,” traveler and chronicler Duarte Pacheco Perreira wrote in his 1505—1508 Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis “they make palm cloth with velvet-like pile, and with designs as velvet satin which are so beautiful that better workmanship is not found in Italy.”36

A carpet reminiscent of central African textiles features in the 1515 Annunciation panel painting attributed to Jorge Afonso hailed as one of the masterworks of Portuguese art. This inclusion testifies, beyond words of praise, to the high consideration that Kongo textiles commanded (Figure 11.7). Pictured in an elaborate architectural space, the archangel Gabriel and the Virgin kneel on a large carpet which yellow and brown hues and geometric designs recall those of central African textiles and basketry. Because of its large dimensions, the carpet would be a combination of individual squares of Kongo cloth, which maximum size depended on the length of raffia fibers, i.e. around two feet at most. Larger central African cloths consisted in a combination of individual panels as seen for instance in an example now in the Ulmer Museum.5' The band of darker patterns in the painting’s carpet accurately reflects polychrome decorations found in some central African cloth, an effect obtained by the integration of colored fibers in the woven structure or by applying dyes to the finished product.58

Notably, artisans in Lisbon also produced mats made of vegetal materials at the time, and it is possible that the carpet in the painting depicted such a local production, inspired, perhaps, in its designs by the imported luxury cloths from central Africa that made such an impression at court. In the late seventeenth century still, a Frenchman who traveled to both Kongo and Portugal noted the resemblance between the two types of objects. In his opinion, central African

fine mats [...] much admired [by] those interested in curios [...] closely resemble the straw tapestries in Lisbon, and I do not know whether the blacks learnt from the Portuguese how to produce this kind of woven

Jorge Afonso, Annunciation, Portugal, 1515. Oil on wood panel, 160.5 x 129.5 cm. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, Portugal, inv. 1279 Pint

Figure 11.7 Jorge Afonso, Annunciation, Portugal, 1515. Oil on wood panel, 160.5 x 129.5 cm. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, Portugal, inv. 1279 Pint.

Source: Photo: José Pessoa, Direçào-Geral do Patrimônio Cultural/Arquivo de Documen-taçào Fotogrâfica (DGPC/ADF).

material from straw or reeds or whether the Portuguese learnt it from the blacks.59

There is no doubt that Kongo textile-making was an indigenous technology and not one they learned from Europeans. Reversely, weaving of vegetal material in Portugal unlikely emerged wholesale from contact with the Kongo. What the painting and the traveler’s comments intuitively and evocatively capture however are the flows in aesthetic sensibilities and designs that linked the two shores of the Atlantic from the outset of contact.

“Things of very little price”

Not half a step behind this exchange of finery and aristocratic pomp, the traffic in enslaved men and women already began to cast its long shadow over the transatlantic relations between central Africa and Europe. Going back to the instructions to Simao da Silva, we read the true motivations behind the king of Portugal’s munificence spelled out at length, unabashedly. Besides repeated and flippant claims that his “intent and concern is not profit but the growth of the Faith alone,”60 Dom Manuel’s instructions outlined the strategies to implement in order to obtain the most slaves and merchandise from the Kongo. Simao should, literally while pointing to the gifts he would have just taken out of the coffers, remind the central African king of the great expense Manuel I entailed in sending the presents, clerics, artisans, and other goods from Portugal. Should the king of Kongo wish for more ships to come to his shores, the ambassador was instructed to make clear, in a thinly veiled threat, that he would have to load them in equal measure for their return voyage.61 Specifically, the cargo with which Manuel I expected to fill his ships was one made of “slaves as well as copper and ivory.”62 “Slaves,” “slaves,” “slaves” the instructions repeatedly mentioned were to be the focus of the return journey. And thus, within decades of the establishment of contact between the two realms, the entanglements between the exchange in finery and the commerce in enslaved Africans wrote itself into the historical record.

A decade before these letters and the dispatch of the fine cargo from Portugal to the Kongo with Dom Simao in 1512 with the hardly disguised goal of procuring slaves, another document recorded a strikingly different take in the Portuguese royal conception of the Atlantic traffic in slaves. The 1502 Cantino Map, a planisphere splendidly describing the world as viewed from Lisbon presented the export of the enslaved from central Africa in terms that would endure for centuries, couching commerce in Atlantic Africa as an exchange of trifle for treasure, to the bewildering advantage of Europe. The map’s legend described how the Kongo traded “slaves” with Portuguese merchants based on the island of Sao Tomé “for things of very little price.”63 Explanations for this statement may come from the discrepancies in exchange value rates of merchandise between different regions or from a self-awed Portuguese pride in the potential of the many worlds they just encountered and hoped to place under their exclusive political and commercial purview. Unequivocally inscribed on a grand visual demonstration of Portuguese global power, it engraved in the written historical record what would become a preeminent topos in European discourse about trade with Atlantic Africa. Yet, the finer-grained, carefully planned instructions given to Simao da Silva a mere decade later shows that a more pragmatic and factually correct understanding of the nature of the traffic and its mechanics also existed at the Portuguese court. In the document meant for a few eyes only, the Portuguese crown shows a vastly different take on the transatlantic trade. Instead of mere “things of very little price,” procuring slaves from the Kongo demanded the establishment of relationships of trade and diplomacy that required the dispatch of lavish, fine goods, in order to gain favor from the central African king and establish the Portuguese monarch as an enviable partner of great worldly reach, power, and resources.


Although centuries apart, Dom Simao’s embassy and the commissioning and bestowing of the La Rochelle kimpada are two moments of material exchange between central African elite and European commercial interests that have much in common. The kimpada as the royal cargo are lavish finery chosen and conceived to fit the sophisticated, discriminating taste of central African rulers. Instead of a trade based on trifles and misunderstanding, they outline a traffic in things ruled by a common understanding of the value of materials, appreciation of artistic achievement, and connoisseurship of refined workmanship. In both cases, the evidence of intense engagement and exchange between Europeans and central Africans not only in the realm of commerce and power but also in terms of aesthetics and design, counters contemporaneous discourses of trifle exchange dismissing African elites as unsophisticated, unable to discern quality and gauge value, and overall easily deceived.

The same evidence also illustrates that central African rulers of the early modern period participated in curiosity and collecting culture not only as providers of specimens showcasing local artistic production that would become exotica in Europe but also as collectors and users of rare and curious things in their own rights. The routes these rare and precious things followed to the Kongo, however, were entangled with those mapped by the traffic in the enslaved. The debate over the causes, consequences, ethics, and morals of the early modern slave trade in Atlantic Africa will continue, rightly, to occupy scholarly and public attention. The intent of this chapter is to underline in the context of this conversation how slave commerce wove deep, lasting, and sophisticated ties between the two continents’ shores not only in the realms of trade and politics but also in those of design and aesthetic. At stakes in highlighting this aspect of the relationship is the writing of a more complete history of the early modern world and its global networks, in which Africa and Africans feature as full, sophisticated participants and not mere providers, willing or unwilling, of labor and raw material.


  • 1 Annick blotter, “Un témoignage de la traite rochelaise sur la côte d'Angole à la fin du XVniè siècle,” La revue du Louvre et des musées de France, no. 4 (2016): p. 57.
  • 2 Transliteration of the name for this category of objects differs according to authors and local variations of the term in Kikongo, the language of the different Bakongo peoples. I use in this article the spelling recorded in Cabinda by Portuguese Spiritan Father Joaquim Martins in the 1940s and 1950s: kimpada, pl. bimpada. See Joaquim Martins, Cabindas: història, crença, usos e costumes (Cabinda: Comissao de turismo da câmara municipal de Cabinda, 1972).
  • 3 Marc Leo Felix and C. C. Lu Henry, Kongo Kingdom Art: From Ritual to Cutting Edge, First ed. (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Ethnic Art and Culture Ltd., 2003), examples passim. Susan Cooksey et al., Kongo Across the Waters (Gainesville: University Press ofFlorida, 2014), pp. 110—113: Martins, Cabindas: historia, crença, usos e costumes, pp. 47-48; fig. P6 and P9.

About the structure of trade on the Loango coast, see Phyllis Martin, The External Trade of the Loango Coast, 1576—1870: The Effects of Changing Commercial Relations on the Vili Kingdom of Loango, Oxford Studies in African Affairs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972).

Proyart, Histoire de Loango, Kakongo, et antres royaumes d’Afrique; rédigée d'après les Mémoires des Préfets Apostoliques de la Mission française; enrichie d’une Carte utile aux Navigateurs: dédiée à Monsieur (Paris: C.P. Berton, N. Crapart; etc., 1776), p. 155. Louis Marie Joseph Ohier de Grandpré, To y age à la côte occidentale d Afrique fait dans les années 1786 et 1787 ... suivi d’un voyage fait au cap de Bonne-Espérance, contenant la description militaire de cette colonie (Paris: Dentu, 1801), 2, p. 24.

Ibid., 1, p. 71.

Notter noted the reference in her notice on the sword, see Notter, “Un témoignage de la traite rochelaise sur la côte d’Angole à la fin du XVIIIè siècle.”, p. 60. de Grandpré, Voyage à la côte occidentale d'Afrique, vol. 2, pp. 142—143.

Cécile Fromont, “Common Threads: Cloth, Colour, and the Slave Trade in Early Modern Kongo and Angola,” Art History 41, no. 5 (2018): p. 22.

Martins, Cabindas: historia, crença, usos e costumes, pp. 47—48.

Manuscript notebook of 12 sheets inserted within the Livre des comptes d’armement et désarmement de Pierre Castaing. 1782—1802. Manuscript register on paper. The register does not have page numbers but the manbouque and mafouque appear as recipients of “peaux de chat” on view 84 of 87 of the digitized version: AC033063_traite/view:14265 Joseph Calder Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988); Paul E. Lovejoy, “The Volume of the Atlantic Slave Trade: A Synthesis,” in Slave Trades 1500—1800: Globalization of Forced Labour, ed. Patrick Manning (Brookfield, VT: Variorum, 1996), pp. 37—64; Joseph E. Inikori, “Slavery in Africa and the Transatlantic Slave Trade,” in The African Diaspora, ed. Joseph E. Harris, Alusine Jalloh, and Stephen E. Maizlish, The Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures (College Station: Published for the University of Texas at Arlington by Texas A&M University Press, 1996); Herbert S. Klein, “The Portuguese Slave Trade from Angola in the Eighteenth Century,” The Journal of Economic History 32, no. 4 (1972): 894—918; Patrick Manning, “Migrations of Africans to the Americas: The Impact on Africans, Africa and the New World,” in Slave Trades 1500-1800, ed. Patrick Manning (Brookfield, VT: Variorum, 1996), pp. 65—82; José C. Curto, Enslaving Spirits: The Portuguese-Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda and Its Hinterland, c. 1550—1830 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2003); Daniel B. Domingues da Silva, “The Atlantic Slave Trade from Angola: A Port-by-Port Estimate of Slaves Embarked, 1701-1867,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 46 (2013): 105-122; Daniel B. Domingues da Silva, “African Patterns of Consumption,” in The Atlantic Slave Trade from West Central Africa, 1780—1867 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 122—141.

About the debate on the impact of the slave trade in the Kongo see Linda M. Heywood, “Slavery and Its Transformation in the Kingdom of Kongo: 1491—1800,” The Journal of African History 50, no. 1 (2009): pp. 2—3.

This has been noted for instance by Aka Kouamé, “Les cargaisons de traite nantaises au XVIIIe siècle: une contribution à l’étude de la traite négrière française” (PhD diss., Université de Nantes, 2005).

Stanley B. Alpern, “What Africans Got for Their Slaves: A Master List of European Trade Goods,” History in Africa 22 (1995): 5-43; David Richardson, “West African Consumption Patterns and Their Influence on the Eighteenth-Century English Slave Trade,” in The Uncommon Market: Essays in the Economic History of the Atlantic Slave Trade, ed. H. Gemery andj. Hogendorn (New York: Academic Press, 1979);

Gustavo Acioli and Maximilano M. Menz, “Resgate e mercadorias: uma anâlise comparada do trâfico luso-brasileiro de escravos em Angola e na Costa da Mina (século XVIII),” Afro-Âsia 37 (2008): 43-73; George Metcalf, “A Microcosm of Why Africans Sold Slaves: Akan Consumption Patterns in the 1770s,” The Journal of African History 28, no. 3 (1987): 377—394; Colleen E. Kriger, ‘“Guinea Cloth’: Production and Consumption of Cotton Textiles in West Africa Before and During the Atlantic Slave Trade,” in The Spinning World: A Clobal History of Cotton Textiles 1200-1850, ed. Giorgio Riello and Prasannan Parthasarathi (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 105—126; Roquinaldo Amaral Ferreira, Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil During the Era of the Slave Trade, African Studies Series (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012); John Kelly Thornton, “Cannibals, Witches, and Slave Traders in the Atlantic World,” The William and Mary Quarterly 60, no. 2 (2003): 273-294.

Mariza Soares observes a similar blind spot in the historiography: that of the trade in ivory. Mariza de Carvalho Soares, ‘“Por conto e peso’: o comércio de marfim no Congo e Loango, séculos XV—XVII,” Anais do Museu Paulista: Historia e Cultura Material 25 (2017): pp. 60—61.

For the history of the term fetish, see William Pietz, “The Problem of the Fetish, I,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, no. 9 (1985): 5—17; “The Problem of the Fetish, II: The Origin of the Fetish,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, no. 13 (1987): 23-45; “The Problem of the Fetish, Illa: Bosman’s Guinea and the Enlightenment Theory of Fetishism,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, no. 16 (1988): 105—124.

Malcolm D. McLeod, “Gifts and Attitudes,” in The Colden Stool: Studies of the Asante Center and Periphery, ed. Enid Schildkrout, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History (New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1987), pp. 184-191.

Christina Brauner, “Connecting Things: Trading Companies and Diplomatic Gift-Giving on the Gold and Slave Coasts in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Journal of Early Modern History 20, no. 4 (2016).

Brauner’s essay steps slightly in this direction, ibid., pp. 423—424.

See, for example, Prita Meier, Surahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016); Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi, Crossing Borders, Pushing Boundaries: Arts of Pourer Associations on the Senufo-Mande Cultural “Frontier” (PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2010).

Ezio Bassani et al., Africa and the Renaissance: Art in Ivory (New York City: Center for African Art, Distributed in the U.S.A, and Canada by Neues Pub. Co., 1988). See also Vanicléia Silva Santos, O marfim no mundo moderne. Comércio, circulaçào, fc e status social (séculos XV-XIX) (Curitiba: Editora Prismas, 2017).

Ingrid Greenfield, “Crocodile Tears: Collecting and Colonial Expansion in the Renaissance,” Unpublished lecture.

Roberto Zaugg, “Le crachoir chinois du roi: marchandises globales, culture de cour et vodun dans les royaumes de Hueda et du Dahomey (XVIIe-XIXe siècle),” Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales 73, no. 1 (2018): p. 139.

Etienne-Renaud des Marchais, “Compagnie des Indes. Journal du voiage de Guinée et Cayenne, par le chevalier Des Marchais..., pendant les années 1724, 1725 et 1726, enrichy de plusieurs cartes et figures,” (Bibliothèque Nationale de France Mss. 24223), fol. 57r.

Adam Jones, Brandenburg Sources for West African History 1680-1700, Studien zur Kulturkunde (Frankfurt: Veröffentlichungen des Frobenius-Instituts an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, 1985), p. 194, n. 53, see also Zaugg, “Le crachoir chinois du roi: marchandises globales, culture de cour et vodun dans des royaumes de Hueda et du Dahomey (XVIIIe—XIXe siècle),” p. 147.

  • 28 Letter by Adondozan to the Prince-Regent of Portugal in BN-RJ: 11—24, 5, 4, f. 1, Doc. 124, 20 November 1804. Cited in Ana Lucia Araujo, “Dahomey, Portugal and Bahia: King Adandozan and the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Slavery & Abolition 33, no. 1 (2012): p. 8.
  • 29 Bernard Clist, “From America to Africa: How Kongo Nobility Made Smoking Pipes Their Own,” in The Kongo Kingdom: The Origins, Dynamics and Cosmopolitan Culture of an African Polity, ed. Koen Bosoen and Inge Brinkman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 197—215.
  • 30 Fromont, “Common Threads.” See also Zaugg, “Le crachoir chinois du roi: marchandises globales, culture de cour et vodun dans les royaumes de Hueda et du Dahomey (XVIIe—XIXe siècle)”; Félix Iroko, “Le transport en hamac dans le royaume du Danhomé,” in Les transports en Afrique XIXe-XXe siècle, ed. Hélène d’Almeida-Topor, Chantal Chanson-Jabeur, and Monique Lakroum (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1992), pp. 159—177; Jeremy Prestholdt, Domesticating the World: African Consumerism and the Genealogies of Globalization, vol. 6 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008). Suzanne Preston Blier, “Europia Mania: Contextualizing the European Other in Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Dahomey Art,” in Europe Observed: Multiple Gaze in Early Modern Encounters, ed. Kumkum Chatterjee and Clement Hawe (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2008).
  • 31 See also Blier, “Europia Mania: Contextualizing the European Other in Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Dahomey Art,” p. 250.
  • 32 Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro: Lata 137, Pasta 62, Doc. 2, f. 3, 9 October 1810, f. 5v cited in Araujo, “Dahomey, Portugal and Bahia: King Adandozan and the Atlantic Slave Trade,” p. 12.
  • 33 African rulers’ interest in foreign objects has been mocked in the colonial period by European commentators as a comical attempt at imitation, see Valentin Y. Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988), p. 122.
  • 34 Paula Findlen, “Early Modern Things: Objects in Motion, 1500—1800,” in Early Modern Things: Objects and their Histories, ed. Paula Findlen (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 3-28; Daniela Bleichmar and Peter C. Mancall, Collecting Across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011); Daniela Bleichmar and Meredith Martin, Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2016).
  • 35 About the medieval period, see, for example, Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019); Thomas Vernet and Philippe Beaujard, eds., “L’Afrique orientale et l’océan Indien. Connexions, réseaux d’échanges et globalisation (1er millénaire-XIXe siècle),” special issue, Afriques. Débats, méthodes et terrains d’histoire 6 (2015), afriques/1719; François-Xavier Fauvelle-Aymar, Le rhinocéros d’or: histoires du Moyen Age africain (Paris: Alma Editeur, 2013) ; Verena Krebs, Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft and Diplomacy with Latin Europe (London : Palgrave, 2021) ; Verena Krebs Africa Collecting Europe : Patronage, Foreign Religious Material Culture and the Assertion of Local Power in Ethiopia, 1470-1530 (manuscript in preparation)
  • 36 Duarte Lopes and Filippo Pigafetta, Relatione del reame di Congo et delle circonvi-cine contrade, traita dalli scritti & ragionamenti di Odoardo Lopez, portoghese (Roma: Appresso B. Grassi, 1591); Duarte Lopes et al., Regnvm Congo, hoc est, Fera de-scriptio regni Africani : qvod tarn ab incolis qvant Lvsitanis Congus appellator ([Latin] Francofvrti: Excudebat Wolffgangus Richter, impensis Io Theo & Io Israel de Bry, frat., 1598).
  • 37 Antonio Brásio, Monumento missionaria africana. Africa ocidental (Lisboa: Agência Gérai do Ultramar Divisâo de Publicaçôes e Biblioteca, 1952), 1:479—480.

Cécile Fromont, “Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola” (book manuscript under contract with Penn State University Press).

Riello Zoltán Biedermann, Anne Gerritsen, and Giorgio Riello, Global Gifts: The Material Culture of Diplomacy in Early Modern Eurasia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

“Relacäo da viagem que fizerem os padres de la Companhia de Jesus com Francisco Barreto na conquista do Monomotapa no anno 1569, feita pelo padre Monclayo,” in Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris MS portugais 8, fol. 241v. The Portuguese entered into direct contact with the Mwene or King of Mutapa in the 1560s; see Roland Anthony Oliver and Anthony Atmore, Medieval Africa, 1250— 1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 203. About Mexican feather paintings, see Alessandra Russo, Gerhard Wolf, and Diana Fane, Images Take Flight: Feather Art in Mexico and Europe, 1400—1700 (Munich: Hirmer, 2015). Instructions to Simao da Silva, 1512, in Brâsio, Monumenta missionaria africana, 1:231. In reality, Simao da Silva died en route from the coast to Sao Salvador, and Alvaro Lopes was the one who met the Kongo monarch.

Ibid., 1:223.

Ibid., 1:247.

Ibid., 1:252.

Ibid., 1:253.

Painter Simao Rodrigues produced an altarpiece for the Jesuit church in Luanda, Angola; see Antonio de Oliveira de Cadornega and José Matias Delgado, Historia geral das guerras angolanas, 1680[—1681] (Lisboa: Agência-Geral das Colonias Divisao de Publicaçôes e Biblioteca, 1940), 3:14.

Annemarie Jordan-Gschwend and Kate Lowe, The Global City: On the Streets of Renaissance Lisbon (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2015). Didier Lahon, Esclavage et confréries noires au Portugal durant l’ancien régime (1441—1830) (Paris: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2001).

Jorge Afonso, Martyr Saints of Morocco. 180 x 110 cm. Museu de Setubal/Convento de Jesus inventory 15.

Antonio Godinho, “Livro da nobreza e da perfeiçao das armas dos reis cristàos e nobres linhagens dos reinos e senhorios de Portugal” (Lisboa: Institute dos Arquivos Nacionais — Torre do Tombo, 1528—1541).

Joaquim Oliveira Caetano, “Jorge Afonso: uma interrogaçào essencial na pintura primitiva portuguesa” (PhD diss., Universidade de Èvora, 2013), p. 78.

Cécile Fromont, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo (Chapel Hill: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

“From Image to Grave, and Back: Multidisciplinary Inquiries into Kongo Christian Visual Culture,” in The Kongo Kingdom: The Origins and Dynamics of an African Polity, ed. Koen Bostoen and Inge Brinkman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 95—110.

Garcia Il’s letter to Johan Maurits van Nassau, May 12, 1642, is in inv. 171 Z 4306, Hauptstaatsarchiv Hessen, Wiesbaden, Germany. About the still extent plate see Friedrich Muthmann, “Die silberne Taufschale zu Siegen,” Abhandlungen der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 1 (1956).

Brasio, Monumenta, 1:238-239.

See Rui de Pina and Garcia de Resende in Ibid., pp. 57 and 70.

Duarte Pacheco Pereira and Raphael Eduardo de Azevedo Basto, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis ... Ediçào commemorativa da descoberta da America por Christoväo Colombo no seu quarto centenario (Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, 1892), p. 84.

  • 57 Kunst- und Wunderkammer des Christoph Weickmann, Ulmer Museum, Ulm, Germany, inv. AV D. 48.
  • 58 Jeremy Coote, “A Text-Book Textile at the Pitt Rivers Museum: Historiographical Notes on a Kongo Cushion-Cover, Its Canonical Status, Dating, and Provenance,” African Arts 48, no. 1 (2015): 66—77.
  • 59 Jean Barbot et al., Barbot on Guinea: The Writings of Jean Barbot on West Africa, 1678—1712 (Farnham, Surrey, England: Hakluyt Society, 2010), 1:186.
  • 60 Brâsio, Monumenta, 1:240 also repeated on p. 241.
  • 61 Ibid., 1:240.
  • 62 Ibid., 1:239.
  • 63 Cantina Planisphere, ca. 1502 (Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena, Italy).

Part V

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