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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A mystery Cigarette Card sent to me by Rabbi Mendi Crombie. Here's the fruit of my enquiry thus far. Of course answers provoke even more questions:


This card was produced in 1889 by the Duke Cigarette Company and is called a "cigarette cards". The actress on the card is Belle Urquhart (1881 - 1882) and the card is from a series called Actor & Actresses Series #1.

This actress is obviously modelling what they believe to be the clothing of Jewish women in Ceylon in the 1880's. What unclear - is why choose clothing from Ceylon and (Jewish at that?). Is this representation of fashion based on reality - stories of travellers or, is it a fantasy that is a part some theatrical drama? It seems strange that the company picked an Island where Jews supposedly were so few in number to even be noticed?

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