?By?DAROGAH ABBAS ALI
The Tasveer Journal is an online magazine for photography in India. New articles are added each week showcasing work from the 19th century to today – contributed and contextualised by our network of critics, writers and curators.
The Beauties of Lucknow contains twenty-four portraits of women with descriptive text, and was aimed at an Indian clientele. The book, which exists in two editions, one in English and one in Urdu, states in the preface that its patrons are ?the nobility and gentry of Oudh?.?The photographs show a few of the women in theatrical costumes for a version of the ?Indar Sabha, a dramatic production popularly attributed to the Lucknow-based poet Amanat Ali, written in 1853. The play incorporated many of the different musical, literary and dramatic styles that were popular at the court of Wajib Ali Shah and, while the origins of the ?Indar Sabha are still debated, what was important in the 1870s was that the audience ?believed they were beholding a direct link to the Awadh court and its sumptuous ambience?. The photographs function as glimpses of this now-extinct court, particularly given the traditional reading of the ?Indar Sabha as a metaphor for the court of Wajid Ali Shah?
#1 from the ?Beauties of Lucknow? series (Ubbasee Domnee) Continue reading “The Beauties of Lucknow”