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De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609).  Part II, Plate 13, Sketch of an Indian Entertainer...

De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609).  Part II, Plate 13, Sketch of an Indian Entertainer...

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De BRY, Johann Theodor, (1560-1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565-1609).  Part II, Plate 13, Sketch of an Indian Entertainer, of a Soldier from Balagate and Also an Indian Farmer with Wife and Children. From the “Little Voyages”.


Plate XIII, Abrisz einer Indianischen Baucklerin. Item eines Soldaten von Balagate: So auch eines Indianischen Bauwers mit Weib vnd Kindt
From Part II of Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623) and Johann Isreal de Bry's (1565-1609) Orientalische Indien (“Little Voyages”), Ander Theil der Orientalischen...Frankfurt: 1598 (first edition)
Engraving with original, early 17th century hand color heightened with gold on laid paper; paper dimensions: approximately: 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Printed by Johan Saur
van Groesen 43


Balagate is located in India within the Ganges. The chief mountains are Caucasus,  Naugracut and Balagate, running almost the length of India from north to south. Many of the mountains produce diamonds, rubies, amethysts and other precious stones. Though the primary goods produced in India are muslin, calico and silk.

According to the descriptions in Icones, Ballagate is another name for Decan, a region of central India. The natives of this region were called canarim or decanim. They abstain from the meat of pigs, cows and ox. The two people on the right- hand side of the illustration are canarim, the figure on the far right holds a coconut in his right hand.

Left on the picture we see a lascarijn soldier from Ballagate, a dancer, called a balhadeira, from the Portuguese. She earns a living with her body, appearing at banquets and drinking parties and entertaining the guests with song and dance.*

Translation of text: 

Title: Sketch of an Indian entertainer. Of a soldier from Balagate: and also an Indian farmer with wife and children

Text: For the first time you can see an Indian Balliadara that is a dancer who is needed in public games or other big fests where she dances and jumps for the people's entertainment. Because they all admire her she's very desperate for a little payment.

Furthermore there is an illustration of a soldier from Balagate called Lascarim who covers nothing except for their head and shame area/ and holds a simple weapon in his hand. Finally illustrated is a farmer called Canaryn with his woman and children/ also completely naked just their shame area is covered with a small piece of fabric. Their figure and proportions also their religion is similar to the ones from the Decanynen and Canaryn just slightly browner in their color in the middle of their head they have a long ponytail the rest is cut very short. Their diet is vegetables and the goods from the palm trees. A lot of them live on the beach by the ocean and trade with the Christians and are Christians the women wear a sheet around their body as you can see above.**


Documenting the Asia Journeys of Van Linschoten. Featuring Depictions of Gabon, Mozambique, India, Ormus, Moluccas, and China

The Itinerario of Jan Huygen van Linschoten (ca. 1563, Haarlem - 1611 Enkhuizen) literally translates from the Latin as "travel report." It is the first Dutch description of a journey to the East.

Jan Huygen van Linschoten undertook the journey as commissioned by the Portuguese. Upon his return to the Netherlands after many years of travel, Van Linschoten chronicled his experiences. Jan Huygen wrote his travel report, which was published in 1596, in his hometown of Enkhuizen. In doing so he was assisted by Doctor Paludanus, a collector of rarities and curiosities, owner of a botanical garden, an encyclopedist of the newly discovered parts of the globe.

How did Van Linschoten find himself in Asia? Around 1579 the young man, 16 or 17 years old at the time, followed his two brothers to Seville, Spain. A year later he would move to Portugal, where, with his brother's help, he found a position as a clerk in the retinue of Vincente de Fonseca, the newly appointed archbishop of Goa on the west coast of India.

Van Linschoten would make his first journey in 1583, sailing to India with the archbishop's retinue. The journey gave him the opportunity to collect all sorts of information from various sources on the Portuguese empire in Asia: about products that were being traded, fauna of the region, customs and habits of the peoples; but above all Van Linschoten noted down information about the route to Asia.

In 1587 the bishop set out to return to Portugal to report on his activities. Jan Huygen van Linschoten stayed behind in Asia. He was thought to be collecting interest. He also cherished the hope that an occasion might arise for him to travel further east, to China and Japan. In 1588 he was informed that the bishop had died en route back to Europe.

He also heard that his brother's ship had been entirely lost. Jan Huygen van Linschoten suddenly became homesick and decided to himself return to Europe in 1589.

During a stop at Saint Helena, he met Antwerp- born Gerrit van Afhuijsen, who had been to the Maluku Islands (previously known as the Moluku Islands, currently part of Malaysia). He learned a great deal from him about trade in that region. At the next stop, the Azores, he was forced to stay for two years as the island was under siege by the English. He utilized this time to map out the city of Angra on the island of Terceira, as commissioned by the governor. In 1592 he arrived in Lisbon. In the same year, he started out for his homeland and settled once again in Enkhuizen, in what is now the province of Noord-Holland.

Jan Huygen van Linschoten's Itinerario appeared in print in 1596. Amsterdam resident Cornelis Claeszoon, the most important publisher of his time, published the book complete with six topographical maps, 26 illustrations of people and their customs and four prints of trees and fruits.

The 26 illustrations of Asian peoples and the four pictures of eastern crops are separately depicted in the book Icones, also published by Cornelis Claeszoon. These include depictions of Indians, but also of Moluku natives, Javanese and Malaysians. We do not know whether Van Linschoten himself encountered people from these last three population groups in India or whether he described them on the basis of other sources.

With the help of Van Linschoten's guide, four ships set sail on the first long journey eastwards in 1595 (De Eerste Schipvaert (The First Voyage) by Cornelis de Houtman).*

*Research provided by Martine Gosselink, head of the History department at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands.

**Translated from original German by Karl Nesseler.

Description compiled by Erik Brockett who is pleased to provide additional information relating to this or other examples of the work of Johann Theodor de Bry available at Arader Galleries. He can be contacted at

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