Africa Tranquil

This French woodcut shows an idealised version of what many Europeans assumed was African society. It appears to show a communal society dedicating their abundant fruits and produce before a local deity. This is very much a romanticised view that was often illustrated in contrast to the rapacious Europeans who were deemed to destroy this utopian idyll through slave trading. Of course, Africa was far more diverse than these simplistic images could convey but they do show an element of guilt that was felt by many in Europe for playing their part in despoiling what were often regarded as almost Garden of Eden societies.



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by Stephen Luscombe