Catalog Archive
Auction 191, Lot 422

"[A Typical Tupi Village]", Bry, Theodore de

Subject: Brazil, Natives

Period: 1592 (circa)

Publication: Grands Voyages, Part III

Color: Black & White

8 x 6.4 inches
20.3 x 16.3 cm
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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 fascinating engraving depicts a village of the Tupi people who lived along the Brazilian coast in between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. It shows a pentagonal cluster of long huts surrounded by fences with holes cut in them for defensive arrow fire. A ring of stakes surrounds the village, with skulls on spikes by the entrance to intimidate potential attackers. At center is a ritualistic murder. The description is drawn from Hans Staden's' account of the Tupi. Staden (ca. 1525 - ca. 1575) was captured by the Tupi and held for nine months, allegedly narrowly escaping being killed and eaten. Staden's controversial account of cannibalism among the Tupi received a great deal of attention upon publication. On a sheet of Latin text measuring 9.5 x 13.2".


Condition: B+

A nice impression on a slightly toned sheet with light soiling.

Estimate: $110 - $140

Sold for: $80

Closed on 2/8/2023