Exploration : Native American in Virginia

Native American in Virginia

Native American in Virginia, Wenceslaus Hollar, 1645, etching, London

This is an etching of a Native American from Virginia.  It was created in 1645 when this twenty-three year old member of the Algonquian tribe visited London, England and later published the same year in Antwerp.  Portrayed chest up, the Native American in the image wears earrings and a matching necklace as well as a headband coming to lay over his eyebrows.  Difficult to make out there are tattoo markings across his eyes in a striped pattern.  The artist, Wenceslaus Hollar of Czechoslovakia created this image of the “Other” to appeal to the masses new found interest of the new world.  This new world was believed to be so “otherworldly” and beyond the understanding of the everyday Englishman that images were necessary for without the aid of them one could not even begin to understand the new exotic world of America.  Although nothing is known of the Native American in the etching, it is a clear depiction of what the British coined the noble savage.  This noble savage, like the Native American image was meant to be strong and in perfect physical shape like that of Apollo del Belvedere.  Created by the British in an attempt to gain control of the Indian population the term was believed to be necessary in order to fully protect ones family.  In this role, The Native American was seen to be both brutal, willing to kill both Indian and European, who he saw as a threat while being progressive in their ability to care and support their families.