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Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua


The King and Queen taking a Walk for their Amusement

Sometimes, in the evening the kings goes for a walk in the neighbouring forest with his first wife. He wears a stag skin, most elegantly prepared and painted in incomparable colours. At his sides two youths wave fans to make a breeze for him; a third, his belt ornamented with little gold and silver balls, holds the king's robes up to prevent them touching the ground. The queen and her handmaidens wear a kind of moss that grows on trees falling from their shoulders. This moss is interlaced into delicate tresses which make chains of an azur blue; they are so pretty that one would say they were filaments of silk. The trees that have this moss look very beautiful for it often falls from their tops right down to the ground. We have often seen it while on hunting expeditions with our companions in the forests near where Satourioua lives and I saw him and his Queen thus decorated. All these chiefs and their wives have their bodies pricked with certain pictures which sometimes make them ill for seven or eight days. They rub the pricked places with a special herb whose sap gives an indelible stain. They believe they embellish themselves by letting their finger and toe nails grow and by filing them with a shell into sharp points. They also outline their mouths in azur blue paint.

All transcriptions are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).