An Aged Man in His Winter Garment
“An Ageed Manne in His Winter Garment.” Theodor de Bry’s engraving of an American Indian man, published in Thomas Hariot’s 1588 book A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. In the foreground, the man is standing with his right arm crossed in front of his chest and his left hand held out to the side. He wears a fringed garment that covers one shoulder and hangs to his mid-calf. In the background is a village of homes surrounded by a palisade. To the left and right of the village are what appear to be fields of crops.
The text accompanying the image reads:
The aged men of Pommeioocke are covered with a large skin which is tied uppon their shoulders on one side and hangeth down beneath their knees wearing their other arm naked out of the skin, that they may be at more liberty. Those skins are dressed with the hair on, and lined with other furred skins. The young men suffer no hair at all to grow uppon their faces but as soon as they grow they put them away, but when they are come to years they suffer them to grow although to say truth they come up very thin. They also wear their hair bound up behind, and, have a crest on their heads like the others. The country about this place is so fruitful and good, that England is not to be compared to it.
Theodor de Bry was a Flemish-born engraver and publisher who based his illustrations for Hariot’s book on the New World paintings of colonist John White. These depictions of the landscapes and residents of North Carolina provided Europeans with some of their earliest notions of what the North American continent looked like. This engraving was based on White’s watercolor painting, “Old Indian Man.”