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Burmese actors, 'Yamah pwe'

Burmese actors, 'Yamah pwe'

Photographer: Watts and Skeen

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1895

Shelfmark: Photo 430/15(60)

Item number: 4301560

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a theatrical troupe in Burma, taken by Watts and Skeen in the 1890s, from the Curzon Collection. In the 19th century, there was a vigorous and very popular theatrical tradition in Burma encompassing music, dance, and drama. It was known generically as pwe, meaning a festival or fair, the usual context for performances. The repertoire consisted of light-hearted drama, myth and folk tales, more serious narratives drawing on Buddhist themes, opera, classical and ritual dance. Performances were staged during pagoda festivals and in rural villages throughout the countryside by travelling troupes during the dry season, often in the open air. In this view a group of actors is posed in costume.

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