Woman with Cutlass or Bill Hook, Peru, 1780s


Martinez Companon y Bujanda, Trujillo de Peru (Madrid: Ediciones Cultura Hispanica, 1978-1994; facsimile reproduction of manuscripts in the Biblioteca del Palacio Real de Madrid), vol. 2, plate E44


Drawing simply identified as Negra, shows a black woman holding a bill hook or cutlass in one hand, a wooden staff in another; she appears to be wearing a sleeveless long dress (or a skirt and chemise). This and hundreds of other drawings were done by unidentified Native Americans during the 1780s and were commissioned by the Spanish Bishop Baltazar Jaime Martinez Companon during his pastoral visit to the region of Trujillo in northern Peru. The drawings, spread over nine volumes, are of Spaniards, Native Americans, plants and animals, as well plans and maps of the region. Only Vol. 2 contains a few pictures of blacks, the index to the volume giving very sparse information on each drawing. (See other images Trujillo on this website.)

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