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Burmese mother and child

Burmese mother and child

Photographer: Beato, Felice (1825-c.1907)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1890

Shelfmark: Photo 15/6(38)

Item number: 15638

Length: 28.4

Width: 20.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a Burmese mother and child, taken by Felice Beato in c.1890. The photograph is credited to Beato on the basis of the studio backdrop, which occurs in several of his photographs. This is a full-length studio portrait, showing the child, a girl, seated on a draped chair holding a fan and the mother standing, leaning lightly on the chair and holding a long cheroot in her left hand. They are posed against a painted woodland scene. Mother and daughter both wear a striped silk hta-mein (wrap-around skirt) with a wide dark waistband. The mother wears an ein-gyi, a close-fitting jacket of fine muslin or cotton over a bodice with a floral design. In her hair she wears a jewelled headband and she is adorned with necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The daughter wears ropes of pearls around her neck and a flower in her hair. During the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885), rich jewellery, fine fabrics such as silk and garments such as the mother's jacket were reserved for court officials and their wives by sumptuary laws. After the fall of the Burmese monarchy in 1885 they were worn by the wealthy. 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.

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