Print of steel engraving, engraved by J. Redaway after H. Melville. 1837."Infanticide in Madagascar"Printed area 4/12" wide x 3" highTradition depicted in the engraving:The Malagassy regard certain days as propitious to every procedure resulting from the events of those days, and other days as the reverse. This delusive influence inculcates the belief, that all born on these inauspicious days will be its subjects and agents through life, and superinduces a conviction, that to spare and nurse the unhappy infants, born on such days, would be to cherish sorcerers, the chief instruments in inflicting every calamity they fear. On the birth, therefore, of an infant, the great solicitude of the parents is to know its vintana, or destiny, which must be ascertained by certain rules. Amongst the varied exhibitions of the domination of superstition, there is not, perhaps, presented a scene of more affecting wretchedness than the one displayed in the engraving. An infant, perfectly helpless, and unconscious, smiling perhaps in innocence, is laid in a narrow entrance to a village, or a fold, through which there is barely room for cattle to pass, several of which are driven violently in, and made to pass over the spot on which the child is placed, while the parents, with agonizing feelings, stand by waiting the result. If the oxen pass over without injuring the infant, the omen is propitious; the powerful and evil destiny is removed, and the parents may, without apprehension, embrace and cherish their offspring.
1837 Antique Print engraved by J. Redaway after H. Melville "...In Madagascar"
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