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For many British colonials in India, hunting was the ultimate expression of imperial power. The shikar or sport hunt was believed to cultivate the Victorian ideals of sportsmanship, masculinity, endurance, and love of nature. Shikar photographs were popular into the 20th century, promoting the image of a mighty British ruling class. Like a trophy skull or hide, photographs were potent reminders of the glory of the hunt—especially in a tableau as ostentatious as this one. The similarities between cameras and guns, both of which are loaded, aimed, and shot, were remarked upon by photographers even in the 19th century.

Details

  • Title: Hunters and Trophies, India
  • Creator: Samuel Bourne
  • Date Created: 1860s
  • Physical Dimensions: w28.4 x h22.7 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Photograph
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Albumen print
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase funded by H. Brock Hudson in honor of William J. Hill, a great friend and sportsman, at "One Great Night In November, 1990"

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