Art Hx: Visual and Medical Legacies of British Colonialism

A pamphlet features a large portrait of a young girl. She only wears a beaded loin cloth and several bangles. The girl has thick hair on her entire body and face. The girl is stands with her foot on a mossy stone among banana leaves and ferns. Far beyond this lush forest, water, palm trees, and a mountain are visible. The title of the pamphlet reads ""Krao", the "missing link," A living proof of Darwin's theory of the Descent of Man." The pamphlet announces special lectures, described as follows: "The Wonder of Wonders. The usual argument against the Darwinian theory, that man and monkey had a common origin, has always been that no animal has hitherto been discovered in the transmission state between monkey and man. 'Krao,' a perfect specimen of the step between man and monkey, discovered in Laos by that distinguished traveler, Carl Bock, will be on Exhibition in the New Lecture Room, during the Afternoon and Evening. All should see her."

Title: “Krao”, the “missing link” : a living proof of Darwin’s theory of the descent of man : special lectures, 2.30, 5.30 & 9.30… : all should see her : [jungle illustration].

Artist/Maker:

Date: March 1887

Source: Wellcome Collection

Copyright/Permissions: “Krao”, the “missing link” : a living proof of Darwin’s theory of the descent of man : special lectures, 2.30, 5.30 & 9.30… : all should see her : [jungle illustration]. Public Domain Mark

References: Herzig, Rebecca M. “Bearded Women and Dog-Faced Men: Darwin’s Great Denudation.” In Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, 55-74. NYU Press, 2015.

Location(s): Laos; Westminster, London, England, UK

Art Hx