Betsimasarka Mother and Child; Hova Woman
The Betsimisaraka are the second largest ethnic group in Madagascar. The Hova, or free commoners, were one of the three principal historical castes in the Merina Kingdom of Madagascar, alongside the Andriana (nobles) and Andevo (slaves). In the accompanying text, Ellis described how "The Hova women wear their hair plaited in extremely fine braids, and tied in a number of small knots or bunches all over the head. . . The Betsimasaraka women wear near their hair braided for two or three inches, and then arranged in a sort of circular mass or ball, two or three hanging down on each side" (p. 135). William Ellis (1794–1872) was an English missionary and author, who went to Madagascar on three occasions in the 1850s.
William Ellis, Three visits to Madagascar during the years 1853-1854-1856 (New York, 1859; reprinted, Philadelphia, 1888), p. 161. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)
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"Betsimasarka Mother and Child; Hova Woman", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed September 30, 2023, http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/2582