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From Marco Polo to Manuel I of Portugal: The Image of the East African Coast in the Early Sixteenth Century

JEAN MICHEL MASSING

in Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Published by British Academy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265246
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754197 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197265246.003.0015

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

From Marco Polo to Manuel I of Portugal: The Image of the East African Coast in the Early Sixteenth Century

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Less than twenty years after Vasco da Gama joined the commercial perimeter of the Indian Ocean (1497–8), European artists had developed a view of the newly discovered lands, ranging from highly exotic and sometimes quite fanciful renderings based on medieval sources (the ‘Tapestries of the Indies’) to careful ethnographic illustrations based on written and visual sources (Hans Burgkmair's large woodcut frieze, People of Africa and India, of 1508). These few years, in which the monstrance of Belém of 1506 (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon) was produced with the gold of Kilwa, also saw an interesting development in Portuguese gold coinage. All these ventures record a brief moment of European fascination with the east coast of Africa and its multicultural inhabitants, which is the object of this study.

Keywords: Portugal; East Africa; Indian Ocean; Manuel I; Vasco da Gama; António Carneiro; Belém monstrance; gold coinage; tapestries of Indies; Hans Burgkmair

Chapter.  12288 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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