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Men and women from Mozambique


Men and women from Mozambique

Doetecum, Joannes (I) van

The image depicts four people from Mozambique and surroundings, which are named by the Portuguese as “Caffres”, a word derived from the Arabic kafir (heathen). Caffre was the common Portuguese word at the time for dark-skinned Africans of sub-Saharan Africa. The text also describes them as ‘Moors’. We see the men depicted naked, while the women wear only a simple cloth. One man carries a small bow, while the woman on the right has jug on her head. Behind them are palm trees with coconuts, some houses and two people walking towards the village. The woman on the right carries a young child who is feeding on her breast.

The text below describes the religion of these people: “Moors from Mozambique and surrounding areas who people call Caffres, some are Christian, some heathen and most are Muslim”.

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Sources and literature

Linschoten, Jan Huygen van, Itinerario, voyage ofte schipvaert van Jan H. van van Linschoten: naer Oost ofte Portugaels Indien (1596)