Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas

Early Impressions

Early illustrations of the Indians reflect the same narrow range of models as do prose descriptions. Almost always nude or partially clothed, the indigenous peoples are variously childlike and harmless, savage and wild, or stately and composed. They are often modeled on classical precedents from the Mediterranean world familiar to their audiences.
Grynaeus and Huttich
By the middle of the 16th century, Indians also began appearing as iconographic ornaments in representations of processions, in murals, and on maps as cartouches. They are both exotic and familiar, threatening and reassuring - impressions which proved remarkably enduring.
These illustrations, from Columbus, Grynaeus and Huttich, Léry, Champlain, and Montanus, provide a small sample of the printed images circulating in Europe.

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