Hauling timber with buffaloes and bullocks from Irrawaddy River near Pagan, Burma
Photographer: Underwood and Underwood
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic pair of photographs taken by Underwood & Underwood in c.1900 of teams of draught oxen hauling timber on the banks of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River near Pagan (Bagan) in Burma (Myanmar). This view shows the oxen in the foreground, with laung-zat, Burmese boats traditionally used to transport rice, moored beyond. A descriptive caption is printed on the reverse of the mount: “This log drawn by four buffaloes and two bullocks is a fair sample of the 200,000 tons of teakwood exported annually. Teak belongs to the government wherever found, and is handled only by the government agencies. Other valuable products are cutch, ironwood, India-rubber and the bamboo…The bullocks guarded by the petticoated Burman lad are of a type peculiar to Burma and parts of Indo-China. They are small, sturdy, docile, with only one hump and small horns. The buffaloes have the widely separated, spreading horns and narrow heads of the Indian buffalo. They are good workers but have an inconvenient fondness for the water which often impels them to rush to it, regardless of any burden they may be carrying.” The prints are from a collection of 36 stereoscopic views of Burma, one of a series of “stereoscopic tours” of foreign countries published as part of the ‘Underwood Travel Library’. Stereoscopic views became enormously popular from the mid-19th century onward as they enabled observers to imagine that they were really “touring” around distant parts of the world. Each pair of views, made using a special camera with two lenses, is mounted on stout card for insertion in a stereoscope or binocular viewer. This device produces the illusion of a single three-dimensional image in the mind of the observer by using the binocular function of human sight to combine the two images, which are seen from fractionally different viewpoints. The prints in this set are generally of high quality and selected for their clarity and instructive value.