John Canoe (Jonkonnu, JonKanoo) Dancers, Jamaica, 1837
Isaac Mendes Belisario, Sketches of character, in illustration of the habits, occupation, and costume of the Negro population, in the island of Jamaica: drawn after nature, and in lithography (Kingston, Jamaica: published by the artist, at his residence, 1837-1838).
The “Red Set-Girls, and Jack in the Green,” are led by their “Queen” (see image Belisario04), and wear dresses of the same color. Their jewelry is not as elaborate as the Queen’s, but they always wear earrings and bracelets, “such lovers are they of ornaments.” They start dancing in the late mornings “and parade the town with little intermission till night, when they are invited to enter private houses to dance and sing . . . . Refreshments and a gratuity are presented them . . ., and they retire to repeat the same elsewhere till a late hour.” The Jack-in-the-Green” wears a costume “composed of the leaves of the cocoa-nut tree, attached to hoops, diminishing in circumference to the top, which is crowned by a large bow with the addition of a couple of flags.” Isaac Mendes Belisario was born in Kingston in 1794 into a merchant family of Sephardic Jews.