Sunday, 21 April 2013

A 19th century photograph of Jews of Cochin.

Cochin Jewish community was always nourished by the Jewish émigré from different parts of the world. The family history of the Cochin Pardesi Jews says there were settlers from far including Jerusalem, Spain, Germany, Kurdistan, Syria, Portugal, Yemen, Morocco, Bagdad, Persia  and more…

                             Photo courtesy: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ethno- logical Museum

A rare photograph of the unknown photographer with unknown people clicked in 1880 A.D from Jew town, Cochin is exhibited in Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ethno- logical Museum. After seeing this image


Absolutely clueless, it was my state….

Later thousands of questions were haunting my mind

The image was analysed from all the angles; their dress, facial features, background. Few had given a convincing answer but we have to go further more to get a clear idea about this picture.
This image which could be considered as one of the most oldest photograph of cochin Jews, but they were not wearing a cochini style costume (which is seen any where in the existing images or photographs) and this image gives a feel of Baghdadi Jewish family (After seeing the Sassoon family photo, Pune/Bombay); if we head forward with that, the possibilities of the family being Bagdadi – it would be from Sassoon clan.

Thinking from another point it may be any prominent family of Cochin or probably the elderly man in this image would be a diplomat or community leader who would be hosting the visitors to the Cochin jewish community during the late 19th century (like Rahabi family (Later known as Roby), Koders family etc.). This point is made more relevant by another old art work, by Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville dated 1883 A.D,
                                                                          Photo courtesy:

A wood engraved image of two Cochin jewish women which shows stunning resemblance with the facial features, dressing style and a chair seen inset the old photograph. 

                                   Image 2                                        Image 1

This resemblance may not be acceptable to some, specially the chair in the image. But these two images are of 3 years difference. Ie 1883 and 1880….
Few of my friend even said that in the image 2 they looks younger compared to image 1 which was clicked three years back then. Rather than expressing my view i woulld like to get the collective Comments, arguments, thoughts, opinions, judgements, advices, proof from all those who are interested in it. So I decided to leave this questions to an open forum to discuss about this image....