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Kochh Mandai woman, Eastern Bengal.

Kochh Mandai woman, Eastern Bengal.

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1860

Shelfmark: Photo 124/(31)

Item number: 31

Length: 22.2

Width: 18.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

This photograph shows a half-length portrait taken by an unknown photographer in the early 1860s of a Kochh Mandai girl, posed holding a broad-bladed agricultural knife and carrying a newly-harvested durian fruit on her head. Durian is an Indonesian word meaning thorny; the fruit is unique to southeast Asia. In some parts of the sub-continent it was a staple article of food, however the strong smell and distinctive flavour meant that many Europeans found it an acquired taste. The precise location of this tribe's origin is unknown, though at the time of this photograph they inhabited tracts of jungle to the north of Dacca in Bangladesh. This print is one of a series of portrait studies of individuals and groups which were taken in response to the Government of India's call for photographs representing various ethnic types.

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