Skip to main content

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Lives of Images

In the Lives of Images, Peter Mason examines four striking case studies involving the production and transmission of visual images of non-European peoples. Beginning with what has been taken to be the earliest three-dimensional European representation of Native Americans, he then focuses on the migration of such images via 16th century Meso-American codices to the murals painted by Diego Rivera four centuries later. Mason also looks at the relationship between drawing and engraving of natives of Formosa by Georges Psalmanaazaar, who never traveled to that country. Finally, he examines representations of the native peoples of Tierra del Fuego, from their first encounters with Europeans in the late 16th century to the present, paying particular attention to their visual traces in the work of such well-known artists as Odilon Redon.

Mason’s fascinating study teases out some of the implications of these particular cases to discover a concept of the image that is both primary and can truly be said to have a life of its own.

Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.

224 pages | 6 x 9

Picturing History

Art: Art--General Studies

Culture Studies

Reaktion Books image

View all books from Reaktion Books


"The scholarship behind this book is impressive, and never oppressive."

Mark Harris | Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Table of Contents

1. The Lives (and Deaths) of Fuegians and Their Images
2. Being There
3. From America to Oxfordshire?
4. The Purloined Codex
5. Images and Objects
Photographic Acknowledgements

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press