Catalog Archive
Auction 164, Lot 732

"[Untitled - Silver Mining at Potosi]", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Prints - Native American

Period: 1655 (circa)

Publication: Newe Welt und Americanishe Historien

Color: Black & White

7.1 x 5.8 inches
18 x 14.7 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 engraving depicts a silver mine in Potosi, Bolivia. According to the text, the Native Indians would work around the clock in two shifts, carrying lights tied to their thumbs. The men worked about 150 fathoms down into the mountain, using a double sided ladder made of ox hide and poles to carry the ore out of the mountain. The mountain depicted here is likely Cerro de Potosi, a mountain famous for providing vast amounts of silver to the Spanish during their conquest of the New World. On a full sheet of German text measuring 7.8 x 12.8".


Condition: B+

Light toning with marginal soiling.

Estimate: $200 - $230

Sold for: $150

Closed on 9/13/2017