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Parsee lady.

Parsee lady.

Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1870

Shelfmark: Photo 127/(88)

Item number: 88

Length: 8.3

Width: 5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Full-length standing carte-de-visite portrait of a Parsi girl, one of a series of prints of ethnic types and occupations taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the early 1870s. The Parsees, or Parsis, are descendants of Persians who fled to India in the seventh and eighth centuries to escape Muslim persecution. Their communities are concentrated in Maharashtra and Gujarat states, especially in Bombay. The Parsis are Zoroastrian, often described as fire-worshippers. However, they do not worship fire, instead they revere many aspects of nature as manifestations of the divinity of Ahura Mazdah.

The Parsi girl in this view wears a Garo, a sari with Chinese embroidery. Garos became identified with the Parsi community as they introduced and patronised it through the China Trade they carried on.

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