Catalog Archive
Auction 181, Lot 325

"[How the Aztecs Treat their Dead] De Miro Mexicanorum Defunctos Humandi Ritu", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Mexico, Natives

Period: 1602 (published)

Publication: Grands Voyages, Part IX

Color: Black & White

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 striking engraving claims to depict how the Aztecs treat their dead. At right, mourners are shown presenting gifts to the corpse of an Aztec of distinction. The procession is illustrated at left, leading to a fire where a priest, costumed like the devil, burns the corpse along with his living servants. On a sheet of Latin text measuring 9.3 x 13.1".


Condition: B+

There is a small spot in the engraved image at upper left. Light dampstains, toning, and a couple edge tears appear outside the engraved image.

Estimate: $120 - $150

Sold for: $90

Closed on 2/10/2021