- The Old Plantation
title=The Old Plantation
Watercoloron laid paperHarvnb|Mazow|2005|p= [http://books.google.com/books?id=r6eGxpIbsqUC&pg=PT74&sig=gCL4Kge6Is0XIrFnuS1RQAq4vYQ 108] .]
width_inch = 17.9Harvnb|Broyles|2000|p=94.]
Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center
"The Old Plantation" is an American
folk art watercolorthat was likely painted in the late 18th century on a South Carolina plantation.Harvnb|Foster|1997| p= [http://books.google.com/books?id=lmNF158DvrMC&pg=RA3-PA374&sig=rg3aZAyQ6wDj8ip9IpPFpjDbSZY 374] .] [Harvnb|Epstein|1975|p=354.] Harvnb|Epstein|1975|p=351.]
The painting depicts African American slaves between two small outbuildings of a plantation on a river bend. "The Old Plantation" is the only known painting of its era that depicts African Americans by themselves, concerned only with each other,Harvnb|Bontemps|2001|p= [http://books.google.com/books?id=kAA5ehSLwTcC&pg=PA7&source=gbs_search_s&sig=2ZEen9h4Cfh4DRbw4FZ-R9NHmNw 7] .] though its central activity remains obscure. Some authorities have speculated that the painting depicts a marriage ceremony, with the attendant tradition of
jumping the broom. Other scholars have suggested that the subjects are performing a secular dance: the Yoruba of Nigeriatraditionally danced barefoot with sticks and scarves, and the headdresses pictured are of West African and perhaps distinctly Yoruban origin.
The painting features two musicians, one of whom is playing a stringed instrument that resembles a Yoruba molo;Harvnb|Epstein|1963|p=202.] the body of this instrument seems to be a hollow
gourd. The molo is a precursor to the banjo, and this is the earliest known American painting to picture a banjo-like instrument. [Harvnb|Mazow|2005|p= [http://books.google.com/books?id=r6eGxpIbsqUC&pg=PA23&sig=PWUbuRvkmhAye02T5sWn8h6VK4Q 23] .] The second musician is playing a percussion instrument that may be a Yoruba gudugudu; others have suggested, however, that he is hitting sticks or bird bones against a hollow gourd.
The painting was purchased for
Abby Aldrich Rockefellerfrom Mary E. Lyles of Columbia, South Carolina, who said that it was painted on a plantation between Charleston and Orangeburg, South Carolina by one of her ancestors. A watermarkon the paper has been identified as that used by the Englishpapermaker James WhatmanII (1741–1798) between 1777 and 1794. The painting was restored by art conservator Christa Gaehde in 1954–1955, who cleaned the painting, flattened creases, mended tears, filled and inpaintedlosses in the paper, and added a washipaper backing. The painting is currently held by the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Centerin Williamsburg, Virginia.
title =The Punished Self: Surviving Slavery in the Colonial South
publisher =Cornell University Press
title =A Day in the Life — Episode Four: Jill's Day
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
first =Dena J.
date =Spring 1963
title =Slave Music in the United States before 1860: A Survey of Sources (Part I)
series =2nd series
first =Dena J.
date =September 1975
title =The Folk Banjo: A Documentary History
first =Helen Bradley
title =New Raiments of Self: African American Clothing in the Antebellum South
publisher =Berg Publishers
first =Leo G.
title =Picturing the Banjo
publisher =Penn State Press
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