Title page, 'Habitus variarum orbis gentium'

Designer Jean Jacques Boissard French
Engraver Julius Goltzius Netherlandish
Publisher Caspar Rutz Netherlandish

Not on view

Engraved title page to 'Habitus variarum orbis gentium' (Costumes of the various peoples of the world), a series of prints representing figures from various parts of the world, engraved after designs by Boissard and published by Rutz in 1581.

The title, on a square panel in the center, is placed within an architectural design flanked by four allegorical figures representing the continents, endowed with the attributes of their lands. At either side of the title panel is a square pillar; a Greek scrolling strip runs across the upper side. A broken pediment with stylized acanthus leaves and strapwork is separated in half by a square pedestal flanked by a terrestrial globe.

On the left, the allegorical female figure representing Europe stands on the architectural frame, her head crowned and her body fully covered by a robe, a loosely laced corset revealed by the open doublet; she holds a scepter on her right hand and a rod with a globe and a compass on her left hand. Below her, seated, is Asia, dressed in a draped gown with short puff sleeves, holding a fuming censer on her right hand and her head turned in profile to the right, looking towards a small trunk full of coins.

On the right, Africa stands, half-dressed with a flowing skirt and a thin strip of fabric around her shoulders and below her breasts, holding a branch with leaves on her left hand and, with the right, hugging a small chest against her ribs. Below her, seated, reclining on a vase, is America, almost fully naked, except for a piece of fabric hung around her right leg, her hair decorated with a large bundle of scrolling feathers, holding a bow on the left hand and an arrow on the right. A necklace adorns her chest and two bands decorate her arms.

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