ROMA HISTORY: PORTRAIT OF A LITTLE PRINCESS

princess

This post cabinet card era photograph features a “little princess” bedecked with exotic jewels and headpiece. She is holding a fan and looks bedazzled by her experience of being photographed in her costume. That brings up a question. Is she playing “dress up” and wearing a costume or is she dressed in a way that is normal for her position and culture? Hopefully, some cabinet card gallery visitors will leave their opinion about this matter. Although the identity of this adorable little girl is unknown there is an inscription on the reverse of the image. The phrase “Photo. Roma” can mean countless things. Here is my opinion. The little girl in the photograph is a member of a Roma community. The Roma (Romani) people are an ethnic group living predominately in Europe and who originate from Northern India. However, it is estimated that there are about one million Roma in the United States. They are often known by the term “Gypsies” but many consider the term prejudiced as the word gypsy has become associated with meaning illegal or irregular (ie gypsy cab). This image is pretty and thought provoking. The photograph measures about 3 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ and my estimate is that it dates back to the 1920’s.

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Published in: on November 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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TWO TEENAGE GYPSY GIRLS PREPARE FOR CARNIVAL IN CHALON SUR SAONE, FRANCE (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

gypsies

It appears that the two young women seen in this portrait are dressed and ready for the French Carnival. The festival occurs after the “Feast of Fools” and has been a tradition since the sixteenth century or earlier. The girls in the photograph of this vintage real photo postcard are dressed as gypsies and holding stereotypical tambourines. The girls are about in their teenage years. They were photographed by Monsieur Henry of Chalon-Sur-Saone, France. The city is located in the south of the Burgundy region of that nation. I wonder what the fascination is with gypsies? The obsession is apparent when one looks at postcards from around the turn of the century (1800’s to the 1900’s). An observer of these postcards will see gypsies here, there, and everywhere. Perhaps visitors to the cabinet card gallery would like to hypothesize about this cultural phenomenon. I would appreciate your input. Now, back to this postcard. The previous owner of this postcard translated the message as “Remember with affection your little girlfriend. A thousand kisses, Germaine”. My guess is that the shorter woman in this image is Mlle Germaine.  SOLD

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Published in: on October 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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TWO YOUNG GYPSY GIRLS WITH TAMBOURINES IN ROMANIA

gypsy-girlsThis Cabinet Card features two sweet girls dancing and playing tambourines. They appear to be gypsies and are wearing traditional ethnic clothing. The photographer is Olga and the studio is located in Oravicza, Romania.

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 1:45 am  Comments (1)  
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