Auction 136, Lot 772

"[Lot of 8 - Native Americans]", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Native Americans

Period: 1600 (circa)

Publication: Grands Voyages

Color: Hand Color

8.3 x 13 inches
21.1 x 33 cm

This copper engraving is from a remarkable series of publications, illustrating voyages of discovery and travels of exploration to various parts of the world. The project was begun by Theodore de Bry of Frankfurt, in 1590 and was to continue for another 54 years. They became known collectively as the Grands Voyages (to America and the West Indies) and the Petits Voyages (to the Orient and the East Indies). De Bry died after the first six parts of the Grands Voyages were completed. The project was completed initially by his widow and two sons, Johann Theodore de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, then by his son-in-law, Matthaus Merian in 1644.

Included are eight prints of Native Americans and two prints of a French fort, all on eight sheets with German text.

The print on p. 162 is a fascinating scene of native Floridians hunting crocodile. A rough translation provides the details of how the alligators were caught. Grasping a pointed tree trunk ten or twelve feet long, they advance towards the animal, who usually crawls along with open mouth, and when he opens his mouth they quickly plunge the thinnest part of the pole into it in such a way that he cannot get it out because of the roughness and irregularity of the bark. Turning the crocodile over, they then pound and pierce his belly, which is the softest part of his body, with blows from clubs and arrows.

The print on p. 168 shows ten Native American figures from the Secota, Pomeiooc and Roanoke tribes, which lived in Virginia and North Carolina. The figures include wives, a priest, and a sorcerer.

The print on p. 327 is a view of the natives of Florida worshiping a column erected by Captain Ribaut. The column is engraved with the arms of the king of France and decorated with garlands. The Floridian king, Athore, is showing the column to a group of French explorers from the second voyage under the command of Laudonniere.

Other prints in this lot show Native Americans building canoes, readying for battle, and performing ceremonies.


Condition: B+

Light toning with some minor stains in blank margins.

Estimate: $900 - $1,100

Sold for: $650

Closed on 6/1/2011