Sumatran Muntjac


This depiction of what is probably Muntiacus muntjak muntjak or Muntiacus muntjak montanus (the Sumatran muntjac) is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in 1986 in the National Library of South Africa. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi people, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The artist most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch East India Company and possibly en route to the Dutch East Indies or on his way back to the Netherlands when he visited the Cape. Evidence suggests that the drawings were made no later than 1713, and possibly a good deal earlier. Most of the drawings have annotations, in Dutch, which were made by another person, also unidentified, after 1730. The muntjac is a species of browsing forest deer found in Sumatra and Java. The notation on the drawing gives information about its size, color, and other features. The artist would have seen the animal in Asia.

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Physical Description

1 drawing : pen and black ink on paper ; 12 x 45 centimeters


  • Presented as Plate 24 in The Khoikhoi at the Cape of Good Hope: Seventeenth-century drawings in the South African Library / text by Andrew B. Smith, from which this description is adapted. On verso of Settlement in the East Indies (INIL 6258); number 6258v of a set: INIL 6250-6264.

Last updated: July 2, 2015