When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.
Okay, so. This cameo brooch is almost certainly Italian, and almost certainly from the 1800s. Unfortunately, I did a terrible thing and apparently didn’t save the info that goes with it. And there is no way to do an image analysis search because I didn’t grab it online. :| *infinite facepalm* So if anyone has an artist or source for this cameo, please feel free to add it. I had been saving it for the last 1800s Week, but alas, my digging turned up nothing. It is, however, remarkable, and I still wanted to put it out there.
I collect cameos and I’m going to need a replica of this IMMEDIATELY! How freaking awesome! I haven’t seen any other cameos with POC on them. Absolutely gorgeous. Now I’m off to see if I can find others.
I didn’t find an exact replica, but I found this Pinterest board that’s chockfull of cameos with POC. Many of them are similar to this one. Not all are antique, but many are. http://www.pinterest.com/cbyk/blackamoor-and-black-cameos/
I also wanted to point out that there is a significant difference between portrait bust cameos featuring Black people, and the “Blackamoor Brooch” fashion in jewelry, which is a racist caricature.
Although this article from Racialicious oversimplifies or misinterprets some of the symbolism and style of depictions of Black people in European art of the Renaissance and Baroque “periods”, it does a good job of showing how many modern white celebrities and fashion designers seem to think using, profiting from, or promoting that kind of imagery is somehow okay. It’s not.
A simple Google image search demonstrates that there are so many variations on and individual items of “Blackamoor” derivation they almost completely flood out other images, and that is why I generally do not feature them on this blog. Portrait or art cameos are different; they are artistic depictions of people, probably using a live model. Sadly, this can cause people who are looking at what is essentially a contextually neutral representation of a Black person in European art to see a stereotype.
^ This is also what I mean when I talk about how our culture NOW massively affects how we view artwork from the past, especially in regard to race.
I have often discussed how which images are available and easily accessible affect AND reflect our society, culture, and dominant narrative. The ubiquity of specifically anti-Black imagery like the “Blackamoor”, as opposed to ones like the portrait cameo above, serves to further the misinformation that racist stereotypes always existed, when in fact their invention can be traced, documented, and explored like any other topic in sociopolitical history.
As I have done research for this project, I have noticed that accurate and individual portraits of Black people in European art history aren’t lacking, it’s just that many of them have been drowned out by the clamor of more recent racist, stereotypical images. Attaching this history of objectification and dehumanization to Black people living today, along with the omission of sensitive and accurate portraiture, serves anti-Blackness today, and will continue to do so if we allow it.
"Would be awfully nice if those 12 million female comic fans would buy a book once or twice too."
Oh you mean like this? The chart that shows Fun Home, Persepolis and Hyperbole and a Half consistently selling graphic novels? And books like Smile and Dork Diaries best sellers in the kids arena?
You people just don’t get it, do you? You walk around a con and see it about 45% women, see the online audience for comics about 45% women and get a sample of 24 million people about 45% women and start making up reasons why this number has nothing to do with the reality you’ve been ignoring for years.
Having just been to a comics festival consisting of 150,000+ people of every age and gender, eagerly reading and buying comics, I find the idea that women are somehow innately opposed to buying material in the comics format more ludicrous than ever.