Smells Like Empire (to an Elephant)

About a year ago I wrote a blog post about British colonizers’ sense of smell in Burma. I suggested that what they thought smelt bad revealed their prejudices about Burmese society. In addition, I wrote that they believed their nasal experience of Empire led them to have more refined sensibilities than their compatriots back home….

The Albanian with the Burmese Tattoo

In the 1870s there was some discussion in British newspapers and medical journals about Georgious Constantine, or ‘the Tattooed Man from Burmah’, who had appeared in Vienna much to the interest of Europe’s anthropologists. He was covered head-to-toe with elaborate tattoos. Constantine claimed to have been of Greek descent and to have been a pirate…