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Albumen Print of Parsee (Parsi) Woman & Child
Bombay, India
early 20th century

height: 24cm, width: 19.3cm

This old albumen print of a Parsee woman and child, probably from Bombay or Surat, is attached to thin card. It is not clear who the photographer is but its
main virtue is that it shows the traditional Parsee dress and jewellery of both the mother and child.

Importantly, the photograph shows clearly the manner in which Indian Parsee women wore just a single, long earring in one ear and kept the other ear covered
by their sari. The lady here wears a white
mathabana, or muslin scarf over her head and beneath that part of her sari that is draped over her head. The sari is
a type known as a
kor no garo - a sari with an embroidered border.

The child - a boy - wears a cap that is likely to be a silk brocaded
topi, and an embroidered tunic known as a jhabla.

The jewellery and costumes of the sitters suggest that they are from a well-to-do Parsee family. The woman most probably  was the wife of a Parsee merchant.

The photographic print is in fine condition.

References:
Shah, S., & T. Vatsal, Peonies & Pagodas: Embroidered Parsi Textiles - The Tapi Collection, Garden Silk Mills, 2010.
Stewart, S. (ed.),
The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination, SOAS, 2013.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 4170 SOLD