Sunday, July 7, 2024


By the end of the 19th Century, France had acquired a huge colonial empire in Africa and elsewhere.  This showed up in an online anthropological collection called Fallaize which warned that its contents were possibly insensitive and not in keeping with modern standards.  These men look dignified to me, but I will leave it to you viewers to make your own conclusions about appropriateness.



  1. I really like this one the best of today's post. Native Africans have always had a draw for me, starting when I was a youngster in school where I saw my first pictures of naked people. Usually the pictures were small and full-frontal nudity wasn't clear. I was mainly interested in females, but now I have quite an interest in pictures of naked black men. This is a VERY, VERY nice photograph of the way it used to be! What a lucky photographer!

  2. Photos like these were popular in England and Europe back then.
    The traditional dress and nudity of African people came to end at African independence in the 50s and 60s.
    Some Africans nations abolished nudity and issued clothing and others discouraged traditional culture and dress, all in an effort to modernize Africa.
    Sadly, much of the traditional culture and dress that made Africa so intriguing and unique has been lost. Africa today, thanks to its divide and conquer colonial past and corruption of today, has some of the most tyrannical governments in the world….:(

    1. You make some very good points. The European colonial powers were known to divide up territories based on arbitrary lines on a map rather than cultural boundaries. This led to disastrous results in Africa as well as the Middle East.

  3. If this is how the men dressed (or not) then there can't be any question of "appropriateness" since the camera is merely recording a fact. The National Geographic magazine famously documented women of various cultures who did not wear tops. I don't agree with most of the retrospective mislabelling of these sorts of documents as "inappropriate" or "exploitative" if the subjects agreed and are presented in a factual way. -Dee Exx

  4. I note the variations in what was done to their penis. In many ways, this was a matter of pride and status within the tribe and they related to rituals to access a certain level within a tribe. These photographs document many of these rituals that have been lost since then. For Africa, circumcsion is the one remaining ritual. In Papua New Guinee, wearing narrow cylinder (bamboot of whatever) to make penis longer appears to be another surviving tribal tradition. In northern Australia, there is a scaring ritial that denote stages of life (usually done on arms). It is living culture, even though we may see it as living museums.