Kayasth, Eastern Bengal.
Medium: Photographic print
Portrait taken in the early 1860s of a Kayasth, a member of the Hindu writer caste of northern India; they were particularly numerous and influential in Bengal (modern Bangladesh and Assam). In the 19th century the British Government sought to acquire information about the diverse races, customs, costumes and occupations of the sub-continent. The rising science of ethnology created a demand among European audiences for ‘exotic’ souvenirs of the East. This print is from a collection which features groups and individuals from across Bangladesh and Assam, however the photographs were taken in and around the same temporary studio built onto the side of a European house.