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Elephant at work [Rangoon] 88122

Elephant at work [Rangoon] 88122

Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (c.1845-1911)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1895

Shelfmark: Photo 88/1(22)

Item number: 88122

Length: 20.7

Width: 27.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of an elephant at work in a timber yard at Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar), taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. This view shows the elephant lifting a baulk of teak between trunk and tusks with the mahout (handler) seated on the animal’s back and a second elephant in the background. Burma has the world’s largest herd of working elephants, most of which are used in logging and agriculture. The country’s vast mixed deciduous forests are one of its greatest natural resources and under British rule in the 19th century, timber was one of Burma’s three principal export commodities, the others being rice and oil. Timber was extracted using elephants and buffalo, and floated in rafts down rivers such as the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) to timber yards and saw mills in Rangoon and other towns where it was classified and sold locally or sawn up for export to Europe.

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