The Liquid Archive 23

The Liquid Archive

In this watercolor done by Frenchman Debret, we can see the layers of brutality under which the Tigers worked. Notice the ragged clothing here. This device locked over his face is perforated cast iron, with just a few holes for breathing and sight. Now imagine that contraption burning your face all day long in the subtropical sun and humidity of Rio de Janerio while human waste drips down over your head and body. This ornate vessel is just a ridiculous display of wealth.

The body is depicted as both well-muscled—to classical Greek form—and with ribs poking out. The cruelty involved in rendering these levels of viciousness as elegant and graceful is a reflection more of how the colonizers saw themselves than of how they saw the Tigers