People of Color in European Art History


  1.  Antonio González Velázquez
The Adoration of the Magi
Spain (c. 1750s)
Oil on Canvas, 81.8 x 43.2 cm.
The Brooklyn Museum

    Antonio González Velázquez

    The Adoration of the Magi

    Spain (c. 1750s)

    Oil on Canvas, 81.8 x 43.2 cm.

    The Brooklyn Museum

  2. sam-phire wrote...

    Okay. I genuinely want to straighten this out. I thought that your message was that fantasies that exclude PoC were not accurate, and thus, not valid, as evidenced by the art history you exhibit. Apparently I was wrong, and your message seems to be "Your fantasy can be whatever you want and accuracy is irrelevant. Don't hide behind whatever you think "accuracy" is as an excuse to exclude OR include PoC from your fantasies." Would you say that's fair?

    I have officially reached my maximum threshold for frustration for today.

    Read this from the FAQ, or just read the FAQ, and have a nice day.

  3. medievalpoc:

    frank-e-shadow-tongue:

    supernatasha:

    part-ofthecult:

    Hogwarts Founders
    » Idris Elba // Lucy Liu // Hrithik Roshan // Angel Coulby

    While I do love that whoever made this did a good job matching actors to characters, the one issue I have is that Hogwarts is in England and what founded several centuries ago. I’m not saying that there wouldn’t have been blacks or asians in England at the time, but it’s still a historical inaccuracy to depict them as anything other than white Englishmen, since the culture of England at the time wouldn’t have had room for blacks and asians as anything other than slaves or traders.

    Please don’t take this as me being racist, this is just me with a debilitating and incurable need for historical accuracy.

    So let’s see. The Sorting claims it’s origins about a thousand or so years ago in it’s song, which implies the 1000s. JK Rowling described them as “medieval," which is about 500 to 1500, again agreeing with our 1000 date. So let’s work with that. We’ve got a pretty decent timeline to work with here. 

    There have been black people in Scotland since “classical times,” and black moors present in James IV’s royal court in the 1500s, plus there’s St. Deiniol in Wales in the 500s, implying black people were also in the religious court instead of all just slaves and servants. Therefore, could a strong and fearless future-Gryffindor have ancestry native to the Isles? Hmmm.

    Hannibal of Carthage was definitely not white (at least not in the modern sense). As a matter of fact, many Mediterranean descended people are mixed with Central Asians, South Asians, and North Africans so… But anyway, in 1555, black men were learning to be interpreters in London to help with trading in the Ghanian region. Here’s a coat of arms with black people on it dated 1616. Also, literally how do you not know about Dido Elizabeth Belle, an aristocratic lady of Scotland from the 1700s???

    The Romani migrated out what is now modern day India and Pakistan in about the 1000s, so add in that they’re wizards who can fly and all that jazz, they could’ve easily gotten there within a year or two and settled in Scotland once they learned white people weren’t treating them very kindly. There you go, that’s how a South Asian Slytherin made it to Scotland just in time to found Hogwarts.

    Here’s desi people of color from the Indian subcontinent, called Lascars, who had been sailing in Europe from as early as the 1400s, possibly earlier, still fitting that there could’ve been wizards in the British Isles about a hundred or so years earlier. Art from the 1600s showing brown men in turbans. Here’s an Indian man who in the 1700s ran a successful restaurant in England and taught white people to shampoo their hair lol.

    Japanese emissaries came to Europe as early as 1584 and observed there were already Chinese and Japanese slaves among the overwhelmingly black slaves, something blamed on Christianity, which was part of the reason why Japan vehemently became isolated from that point.

    Also about East Asia, Mongolian Genghis Khan made it to about Poland-ish in the 1200s, so it’s not a far bet to say the Chinese (who were also conquered by Khan on his way to Europe) could’ve found their way to Scotland around that time or a few hundred years earlier. Along with a smart cookie who would go on to be the founder of Ravenclaw.

    Native Americans, of course, have been present in Europe for a while. In the 1500s, Manteo and Wanchese arrived in London. There’s evidence the Vikings and Indigenous Americans were friendly long before when Columbus blah blah, and there’s even evidence of Native Americans in Holland that’s like 2000 years old. Could a kind and loyal future Hufflepuff be one of those mixed race indigenous American-Africans?

    ALSO considering the fact that Binns (the history professor at Hogwarts) specifically stated that witches and wizards were being persecuted and Hogwarts was built out of sight of Muggle eyes, it’s completely possible that POC came to Scotland and built the castle happily for other magical humans to have a safe place. Since HP universe is a fantasy anyway, read these article while you’re at it.

    So yeah, I understand your implication that you don’t want to be racist or anything like that (bc being called racist is ofc so much worse than actually being ignorant), but POC were not just traders and slaves in the British Isles, they were a fuckton of other things your history books aren’t telling you (or trying to intentionally steer you away from). So me having an all-brown cast for a location in a dominantly-white place I’m sure is irking the fuck out of you, and that makes me so glad to see you confronted with that “incurable” need for historical accuracy you have.

    And check out this rad blog: Racebending Harry Potter.

    how come the only time people mention the enslavement of black people in Europe is when they want to deny our presence in fantasy fiction?

    And that’s what it really boils down to pretty much every time.

    Because someone couldn’t deal with a single photoset with characters of color in a FANTASY setting. None of the “fact checking” is really necessary, because that isn’t really the issue. Fantasy fiction isn’t something that should be subject to “proof”, but when it comes to racial diversity, it invariably is every time.

    It’s my hope that with Medievalpoc, this endless quibbling about what is and is not “historically accurate” can be done away with, and Toni Morrison’s quote here can become creative people of color’s realities:

    image

    Apparently this needs to be reblogged again.

  4. Because you wouldn’t want to be historically inaccurate

    If you are interested in having discussions about race and representation in fantasy media, analyzing and questioning our ideas about what “historical accuracy” means, and criticizing the way we use concepts about Medieval Europe to exclude people of color from enjoying historical play, in addition to learning about people of color in European art history, click here to follow the Medievalpoc tumblr.

    Anyone who thinks it’s going “too far” to point out people who refuse to acknowledge the massive double standard in applying “historical accuracy” to fantasy settings only when it comes to including characters of color, go ahead and click here to unfollow the Medievalpoc tumblr.

    For just the images, here’s the Flickr stream.

    For static database without discussion, here’s the dot org website.

    There’s also a Twitter. And a Facebook.

    Just because you want a history lesson doesn’t mean you’re going to receive the lesson you were expecting. Pretending that history doesn’t affect the way we interact with each other today is not in keeping with what this whole thing is about.

    Medievalpoc is about this:

    image

    [source]

    BUT

    It’s also about this:

    image

    [source]

    It’s about this:

    image

    [source]

    BUT

    Also about this:

    image

    [source]

    About this:

    image

    [source]

    BUT

    Also about this:

    image

    [source]

  5. More thought-provoking and challenging displays from the Swedish Historical Museum. Submitted by xanthy-m.

  6. Where imagination is capped out

    penig replied to your post: “Hi, I am very impressed with your blog, and would like your input on something. I am running a Vampire game set in Hungary 1 year before the Mongolian invasion. I was wondering what other ethnicities would be present in the area?”:
    To be fair here, part of the fun of historical RPGs and fantasy is to change as little as possible and watch the effect of the fantastic premise on the setting.

    blackghostwaltz replied to your post: justcuriousabout said:Hi, I am v…

    I honestly think they’re asking a question relating to what PoC groups were living in the area at the time. Just because it has a supernatural element doesn’t mean it can’t have accuracy. As a writer, that’s one thing I strive for personally.

    myirrelephantlife replied to your post: justcuriousabout said:Hi, I am v…

    I think they’re asking what sort of ethnicities were present in Hungary at that time. Not to be rude, but it’s a reasonable question and I’m not sure why you brushed it off. Vampires are fantasy, but the setting could still be historically accurate.

    tranettew reblogged your post justcuriousabout said:Hi, I am v… and added:

    That’s unnecessary shade. The whole blog is about historically accurate representation of PoC in history and, ergo, it is not an excuse to be non-inclusive in media as there were PoC in Europe at different points in history. This ask is essentially what you’re trying to promote, I thought.

    Wyatt Cenac

    gifset via

    Read More

  7. medievalpoc:

    playthatthing replied to your post: “Hi, I am very impressed with your blog, and would like your input on something. I am running a Vampire game set in Hungary 1 year before the Mongolian invasion. I was wondering what other ethnicities would be present in the area?”:
    ok so the Mongol invasion was in 1241, less than 250 years after the Hungarians settled in the Carpathian Basin after centuries spent in the steppes in Eurasia. A lot of them would’ve looked hella Turkic or Asian anyway. How does OP not know this.

    I think people are missing the point here

    Also that ^ is not exactly common knowledge

    The point is

    vampires=well, of course

    "other ethnicities"=we’re gonna need to see some ID and at least 4 graduate-student-level-or-above academic sources

    for  historical accuracy in our vampire game about vampires

    playthatthing replied to your post: “Hi…”:

    so a big freaking mix to begin with, “Hungarian” doesn’t denote a single ethnicity, neither was there a unified nation in any sense but a bunch of different tribes. sorry I know they’re trolling but as a Hungarian I feel obligated to comment.

    I don’t think they’re necessarily trolling but. I’m saying that the double standard here needs to be acknowledged.

  8. playthatthing replied to your post: “Hi, I am very impressed with your blog, and would like your input on something. I am running a Vampire game set in Hungary 1 year before the Mongolian invasion. I was wondering what other ethnicities would be present in the area?”:
    ok so the Mongol invasion was in 1241, less than 250 years after the Hungarians settled in the Carpathian Basin after centuries spent in the steppes in Eurasia. A lot of them would’ve looked hella Turkic or Asian anyway. How does OP not know this.

    I think people are missing the point here

    Also that ^ is not exactly common knowledge

    The point is

    vampires=well, of course

    "other ethnicities"=we’re gonna need to see some ID and at least 4 graduate-student-level-or-above academic sources

    for  historical accuracy in our vampire game about vampires

  9. justcuriousabout wrote...

    Hi, I am very impressed with your blog, and would like your input on something. I am running a Vampire game set in Hungary 1 year before the Mongolian invasion. I was wondering what other ethnicities would be present in the area?

    you’re doing a game about VAMPIRES

    But you need to fact check “other ethnicities”?

    … ethnicities….other than vampire?

    image

  10. peashooter85:

    The Jews of Ancient China —- The Kaifeng Jews

    The destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD would create a wave of Jewish diaspora as Jewish rebels were sold into slavery or exiled to locations all over the Roman Empire.  However the spread of Jewish peoples would expand beyond the borders of the Roman world, as Jewish genes can be found all over Europe, Africa, and Asia.  One far flung Jewish community can be found in China, one of the most extreme examples of Jewish immigration in the ancient world.

    After the Jewish revolt against Rome many thousands of Jews headed east to enjoy the wealth and riches of the Silk Road to Asia.  Jewish merchant communities sprang up all over Persia, Afghanistan, and Northern India.  One Jewish group traveled as far as Henan Province (Eastern China) and settled in the cosmopolitan city of Kaifeng between 600 – 900 AD.  By the year 1100 the Jews of Kaifeng had established a large and healthy community with a synagogue, communal kitchen, kosher slaughterhouse, ritual bath, and Sukkah (special building used to celebrate the festival of Sukkot).  During the Ming Dynasty the Kaifeng Jews took Chinese surnames which corresponded with the meanings of their original Jewish names.  One Kaifeng Jew, Zhao Yingcheng (Moshe Ben Abram) made his mark in Chinese history by being named the Director of the Ministry of Justice by the Emperor in the mid 1600’s. The religious traditions of the Kaifeng Jews remained the same through most of their history, corresponding exactly to the religious practices of Jews in the west.  However, in the 1860’s the community would be uprooted due to the chaos caused by the Taiping Rebellion.  The synagogue was destroyed and much of the ancient practices of the Kaifeng Jews were lost or forgotten.  The war caused a mini-diaspora of Chinese Jews as they sought refuge all over China.  After the war many Jews returned to Kaifeng to rebuild their community.  Today the Kaifeng Jews still maintain a small community with a rebuilt synagogue.  Today 1,000 Jews still maintain a prosperous community in Kaifeng.

    Further Reading:

    The Jews of Kaifeng, China: History, Culture, and Religion By Xin Xu

    The Haggadah of the Kaifeng Jews of China By Fook-Kong Wong, Dalia Yasharpour

    Legends of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng By Xin Xu

    The Kaifeng Stone Inscriptions: The Legacy of the Jewish Community in China By Tiberiu Weisz

    The Jews of China: Historical and Comparative Perspectives edited by Jonathan Goldstein