John Canoe (Jonkonnu, JonKanoo) Costume, 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).
Captioned, “Queen, or ‘Maam’ of the Set-Girls.” In compiling his prints for publication, this was the first one to be shown. The Queen leads the group of “female dancers, denominated Set-Girls” (see image reference Belisario02), and she is “invested with absolute authority, which . . . she exercises with unsparing severity, as may be inferred by the cow-skin whip borne in her hand.” Her costume is elaborate and although “the ornaments displayed are probably the loan of her mistress, the remainder of the dress is invariably purchased by herself.” Isaac Mendes Belisario was born in Kingston in 1794 into a merchant family of Sephardic Jews.