Historically, blackamoor cameos are significant antiques to preserve and collect. Many are housed in national art museums throughout Europe and are a part of prized private collections. The growing interest in blackamoor cameos and other African antiques has allowed for incredible exposure to the artworks. Throughout history, the image of the Africans during the trans-Atlantic slave trade has been associated with pain, trauma, and bondage. It is refreshing to see poised and elegant pictures of Africans compared to the commonly emphasized stereotypical depictions. The cameos are often intricately embellished with multiple gemstones, many of which include bejeweled crowns on their heads.
Historically, antique cameo designs have been synonymous with Greek and Roman styles. However, some of the first cameos were Egyptian stone engravings for recording sentimental events. When collecting cameos, it is common to curate mythological figures such as the Greek Muses and scenic carvings of Roman chariot races. The portrait of an African royal figure engraved in a cameo is not as familiar as other designs and is still surrounded by mystery. While some Blackamoor cameos are based on mythological figures, many were likely created from real-life models. The intricate details, superb quality, and historical significance of Blackamoor cameos are essential to preserving. In my non-fiction historical book 'Hidden Legacies: African Presence in European Antiques, I dedicate a chapter to Blackamoor cameos and their overlooked magnificence.
Throughout history, the portraits of royal Blackamoor figures have been overlooked and shunned from receiving critical acclaim. They each tell an important story significant to European and African history. It is essential to not only acknowledge these collectibles but also include them in educational history references.
Learn more insight on historical Blackamoor cameos and their significance in 'Hidden Legacies: African Presence in European Antiques' by Tanzy Ward.