Portrait of Mah Hmet, Woon Thit, and Mah Khin of Burma [CDV]. Charles Eisenmann.
Portrait of Mah Hmet, Woon Thit, and Mah Khin of Burma [CDV]

Burmese Dancers in New York in 1884

Portrait of Mah Hmet, Woon Thit, and Mah Khin of Burma [CDV]

Notes: A portrait of two Burmese women and a child by Charles Eisenmann, a noted photographer who took many pictures of theater people at his studio in the Bowery. These women, identified on the verso (back) of the mount by name, are described in the New York Times (March 31, 1884) as part of a group of Burmese musicians hired by P. T. Barnum to play for his circus's famous white elephant. The Times translates the women's names as Miss Ripe (Mah Hmet) and Miss Fry (Mah Khin). The child is called Thit Woon (probably Woon Thit) in the newspaper.

The Times' reporter described the scene before the performance: "Miss Fry and Miss Ripe puffed cigars which their liege lords had lighted for them, and chatted together. The men are to play in the great moral show, and the women are to dance to their music."

This is an uncommon record of early visitors to the US from Myanmar.

Edition + Condition: There is a small area of damage along the top edge of the print; the photograph is captioned on the back in an early hand in pencil and then again, more clearly, in a modern hand. The image has moderate contrast and a few spots in the background.

Publication: New York: Chas. Eisenmann, [1884].

Item No: #307559

Price: $400