MP-1922.214.171.124 | Bachi Bazouk, group of men, Constantinople, about 1865
Bachi Bazouk, group of men, Constantinople, about 1865
About 1865, 19th century
Silver salts on paper - Albumen process
8.5 x 5.6 cm
Gift of Mrs. Margaret Brown
© McCord Museum
Keywords: male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
Keys to History
New bourgeois tourists, like the aristocratic travellers of earlier times, were enthusiastic collectors. Along with antiquities, hunting trophies and curios, they began to collect small photographs, known as cartes de visite (because the format was suitable for calling cards), which foreign studios produced especially for the tourist trade.
These three men were photographed in the Abdullah Frères studio in Constantinople (now Istanbul). The term bashi-bazouk refers to irregular soldiers in the Turkish army. But are these men really soldiers?
In the 19th century Constantinople was the capital of the vast Ottoman Empire, which extended from Europe to the Middle East, from the Balkans to Egypt and Iraq.
From 1850 to 1860 Constantinople fascinated Europeans. Tourists in search of the exotic flocked to the city where East meets West.
Nowadays many people know the expression bashi-bazouk as one of the favourite insults of Captain Haddock, a colourful character in the Tintin comics.