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The first distinction between continents was made by ancient Greek mariners, but it was not until the 16th century that the English term continent came into common use, translated from the Latin terra continens, continuous land. Nowadays, the boundaries of the continents are not considered as fixed. 
Throughout the 19th century, the division of the world into four continents - Africa, America, Asia and Europe - remained the most commonly accepted conception. Artists of all disciplines represent them via their personifications and some attributes are thus frequently used. 
An Indian maiden clad in coloured feathers, carrying a bow and arrow, with an alligator as her animal companion and a palm tree represent America.
A woman adorned with pearls, coloured drapes, a camel and a censer for Asia. 
A figure in highly decorated attire, panther skin, a zebra and a roaring lion are used to represent Africa. 
And a crowned figure, a horse and a globe for Europe. 
This portfolio is intended to examine the way in which the six continents identified today, could be represented. 
Le Barbier Jean-Jacques François, the Elder (1738-1826)
Etats-Unis, New-York (NY), The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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