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Circus Spectacle Float
This photograph depicts an elaborate spectacle float in the “backyard” of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in September 1922. The spectacle, or “spec,” often opened the show and was a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. Traced back to the earliest circuses in America, the spec was originally a lavish performance of literary or historical tales intended to entertain and edify the audience ...
Contributed by
Illinois State University's Special Collections, Milner Library
Free Street Parade of the Sells-Floto Circus
This colorful lithograph advertises the upcoming street parade of the Sells-Floto Circus, promoting ticket sales to the local residents for the twice-a-day shows. The artwork captures the grandeur of the American circus parade in the 1920s. The parade is led by a rider wearing an 18th-century costume and carrying a circus banner. Behind the rider is a group of mounted horsemen, elephants in costumes worn in big production number during the show (“spec costuming”), a band, and a number of circus wagons. Several of the elephants and wagons promote the ...
Contributed by
Circus World Museum
Pastimes of Central Asians. Two Male Actors with Painted Faces and Artificial Beards Playing a Board Game
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Pastimes of Central Asians. Three Men, Including Two Maskhara-bāzūs, or Entertainers, with Painted Faces and Artificial Beards
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Pastimes of Central Asians. Two Maskhara-bāzūs, or Entertainers Masquerading as Hindus
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Pay Off of Spec—the Good Old Times
In the American circus, the spectacle, or “spec,” developed as a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. Traced back to the earliest circuses in America, the spec was originally a lavish performance of literary or historical tales intended to entertain and edify the audience. The costumes created for specs were often exotic, representing cultures from all corners of the globe. The costumes also could be ...
Contributed by
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Theatrical Group, Kandahar
This photograph of a theatrical group is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The members of the group are dressed up in different comic costumes. A man on the far left side of the portrait is pantomiming a mother holding a rather unhealthy looking “child.” Other soldiers are dressed as Afghan tribesmen, Sikhs, beggars, jesters, and a vendor of “Camel hot pies.” The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Actors of the Chinese Theater in Costume. Beijing, 1874
In 1874-75, the Russian government sent a research and trading mission to China to seek out new overland routes to the Chinese market, report on prospects for increased commerce and locations for consulates and factories, and gather information about the Dungan Revolt then raging in parts of western China. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Iulian A. Sosnovskii of the army General Staff, the nine-man mission included a topographer, Captain Matusovskii; a scientific officer, Dr. Pavel Iakovlevich Piasetskii; Chinese and Russian interpreters; three non-commissioned Cossack soldiers; and the mission photographer, Adolf Erazmovich ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Actors of the Chinese Theater in Costume. Beijing, 1874
In 1874-75, the Russian government sent a research and trading mission to China to seek out new overland routes to the Chinese market, report on prospects for increased commerce and locations for consulates and factories, and gather information about the Dungan Revolt then raging in parts of western China. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Iulian A. Sosnovskii of the army General Staff, the nine-man mission included a topographer, Captain Matusovskii; a scientific officer, Dr. Pavel Iakovlevich Piasetskii; Chinese and Russian interpreters; three non-commissioned Cossack soldiers; and the mission photographer, Adolf Erazmovich ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Two Actors of the Chinese Theater Depicting a Scene in which the Emperor is Attired in the Costume of the Han Dynasty, with a Figure of the Celestial Sovereign over Him. Beijing, 1874
In 1874-75, the Russian government sent a research and trading mission to China to seek out new overland routes to the Chinese market, report on prospects for increased commerce and locations for consulates and factories, and gather information about the Dungan Revolt then raging in parts of western China. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Iulian A. Sosnovskii of the army General Staff, the nine-man mission included a topographer, Captain Matusovskii; a scientific officer, Dr. Pavel Iakovlevich Piasetskii; Chinese and Russian interpreters; three non-commissioned Cossack soldiers; and the mission photographer, Adolf Erazmovich ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Dancing Zamba, Argentina
This photograph shows a couple in traditional costumes dancing the zamba, one of Argentina's most popular dance forms. The dance originated in Peru in the Creole genre known as the zamacueca, which was adopted in Chile as the cueca. The zamba is a slow dance in three-quarter time played primarily on guitar and bombo legüero (the indigenous Argentine bass drum). The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrating life and culture in the ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Gaucho Drinking “Mate”
This photograph shows a gaucho in traditional dress pouring hot water from a kettle to make maté, a traditional drink common to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay that is made from the yerba maté plant native to subtropical South America. In the background is a tepee-like structure. Gaucho is a term used to denote descendants of the early Spanish colonizers who traditionally led a semi-nomadic life on the South American pampas. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Dancing
This photograph shows male and female dancers dressed in folk costume dancing around a maypole. Maypole dancing is a form of folk dance, brought to the Caribbean by the English, in which participants dance in a circle, each holding a colored ribbon attached to a pole. The ribbons are intertwined and plaited either to the pole itself or into a web around the pole. The dancers then can retrace their steps in order to unravel the ribbons. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Festival in Oruro (Bolivia)
This photograph shows a group of dancers in elaborate costumes in a band at the Carnival of Oruro in Bolivia. The carnival, which takes place every year, lasts ten days and features examples of popular arts in such forms as masks, textiles, and embroidery. The main event is the procession or entrada, in which the dancers walk the four-kilometer processional route repeatedly for a full 20 hours without interruption. In 2001, UNESCO proclaimed the Carnival of Oruro a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The photograph is ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Candomblé in Bahia (Brazil) Omolú Daughter
This photograph from Brazil shows a woman performing a dance wearing an elaborate costume made of grass and shells, with a portion of it covering her face, and holding a broom, the handle of which is also decorated with shells and grass. The dance and the costume are associated with Candomblé, a religion based on African traditions, with elements borrowed from Christianity, that is practiced chiefly in Brazil. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
A Feast Day in San José, Costa Rica
This photograph shows a religious parade in San José, Costa Rica, featuring a cross and white-clad young girls, some with wings, all held above the crowd. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Conga Drums at Carnival Time
This photograph from Cuba shows a group of male revelers in traditional costumes and large sombreros, with various types of drums and other musical instruments, in a Conga line. The conga is a dance that originated in Cuba, and in which the participants form a winding line, take three steps forwards or backwards, and then kick. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Conga Dancers
This photograph from Cuba shows dancers and drummers similarly adorned in costumes of balloon-like trousers, long coats, and head wraps made of the same shiny fabric, moving in a long conga line. The conga is a dance that originated in Cuba, and in which the participants form a winding line, take three steps forwards or backwards, and then kick. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Carnival
This photograph from Grenada shows a young girl in a shiny costume and crown, in a carnival band. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Native Orchestra, Marimba
This photograph from Guatemala shows indigenous musicians playing two different types of marimbas, drums, a violin, and a harmonica. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Dressed for the Big Show
This photograph from Haiti shows a couple fashionably dressed in clothes of a bygone era. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common ...
Contributed by
Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States