La Mano Muerta by Paula Rego
La Mano Muerta, or Dead Hand is a framed etching with aquatint.
This print was published in 2020 from a plate originally drawn in 1962-4.
Due to its politically charged content, showing a decapitated Salazar, authoritarian Portuguese Prime Minister from 1932-68.
Edition of 17, signed and numbered by the artist.
image 18 x 24 cm, paper 31 x 36 cm
Meaning of Dead Hand:
Death was the fee that servants had to pay to remain in fiefdom (enjoying land and protection) of the family for whom they worked.
This was typical feudal practice in the Middle Ages throughout Europe. This medieval tax demonstrates the exploitation of servants, who were not free even when their parents died, but they continued the work of their ancestors.