Kara Goala, Eastern Bengal.
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph is a three-quarter length portrait of a Goala or member of the Muslim cowherding class taken by an unknown photographer in the early 1860s. The Goala cowherds kept milch cows from whom they sold milk and prepared whey to order. They did not make butter or ghee. 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 Eastern Bengal (modern Bangladesh and Assam), however the photographs were taken in and around the same temporary studio built onto the side of a European house.