Burmese princess [or dancing girl]
Photographer: Beato, Felice (1825-c.1907)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a Burmese princess or dancing girl, taken by Felice Beato in c.1890. The photograph is attributed to Beato on the basis of the painted backdrop which appears in several of his portraits. It is a full-length studio portrait of the woman, who is posed holding a long cheroot and wearing an elaborate ceremonial costume. This consists of a crown and a hta-mein (wrap-around skirt) worn beneath a richly embroidered garment made of flaring panels. It is very similar to the special ceremonial robes adorned with gold embroidery, sequins, gold, silver and gems reserved for royalty and worn in the late 19th century by members of the Burmese royal family at Mandalay. As the costumes usually worn by Burmese dancers
originated at the royal court and were based on royal dress, it is possible that she may be a dancing girl. The photograph is from an album devoted almost entirely to Lord Elgin's Burma tour of November to December 1898. Victor Alexander Bruce (1849-1917), ninth Earl of Elgin and 13th Earl of Kincardine, served as Viceroy of India between 1894 and 1899.