"[Whaling in the West Indies]", Bry, Theodore de
Subject: Prints - Native American
Period: 1655 (circa)
Publication: Newe Welt und Americanische Historien
Color: Hand Color
7.1 x 5.6 inches
18 x 14.2 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.
This is a fascinating depiction of natives fishing and hunting whales in the West Indies. In order to catch fish, natives would sit astride bundles of reeds to keep afloat while casting their nets. They would then bring their catch ashore to dry in the sun. When hunting whales, natives would paddle their canoes close to the whale, then jump on its back and hammer wooden pegs into its nostrils to prevent it from breathing. Ropes would then be tied to the pegs so that once the whale was properly asphyxiated, it could be towed to shore. On a full sheet of German text measuring 9.1 x 13.9".
A nice example with wide margins, light marginal soiling, and a large "D" watermark.