[Burmese couple of the upper class seated on a wooden couch.]
Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (c.1845-1911)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a Burmese upper class couple, Burma (Myanmar), probably taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. In this full-length studio portrait the man and woman are shown seated on a carved wooden couch. Both are dressed in garments, fine fabrics and jewels which were reserved for court officials by sumptuary laws during the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) and after the fall of the Burmese monarchy were worn by the wealthy. The woman is adorned with jewelled and floral head ornaments, necklaces and other jewellery, a muslin jacket over a breast cloth, and a wrap-around skirt or hta-mein with a dark waistband which is probably made of silk. Her husband wears a turban, a cotton or muslin jacket, and the man’s lower garment known as a pahso. Klier, of German origin, began as a professional photographer in Moulmein in Lower Burma in 1871. In a few years he had built up a considerable reputation and based himself in Rangoon. He took hundreds of photographs, mostly for Europeans, both as a memoir of their stay in Burma and to feed the great interest in pictures of the country in Europe. He was known as a specialist in art photography and his work was published in art books. He was interested in portraying images of mosaics, woodcarving and other crafts of Burma. In fact he later became a dealer in arts and crafts such as silverware and furniture.