Inscribed in the plate, l.c., in engraving: From Copyright Photograph 1910 by E. S. Curtis; l.l.: SONS OF A YAKIMA CHIEF; verso, inscribed in graphite, l.r.: 505; in black ballpoint pen, l.r.: 710 (on sticker)
An image of an elagantly dressed woman in a complex kimono. The kimono consists of various flower images along the base and near the back. The lowest level of material depicts blue flowers with butterflies. Near the back of the kimono are yellow, orange, white, and blue flowers. In this same area are two crests. Another segment of the kimono, shown at the front, displays red and white stripes. The woman also wears high black sandles which can be seen poking out beneath the kimono and an elaborate gold headpiece. Behind her is a small figure, possibly a male attendant, looking up and behind the woman at the white flowers shown in the top left corner of the image. The attendant wears a blue kimono and hat with flower print and the same red and white striped material around his waist. A text inscription is above the attendant's head.
The "Outlaws of the Marsh" is a piece of classical Chinese literature. The core plot behind the story is called "108 Stars of Destiny." In this portion of the story, it is told that 108 demons were reborn as 108 heroes. The image of this woman is designed to represent one of these 108 heroes from the story, though which one is unclear.
Balbir Sen of Mandi sits with his legs tucked under him against a purplish bolster on an oval orange carpet with a green border. He wears a white garment with green borders and some jewelry: a ring, bracelets, an armlet, necklaces, earrings and wears a green turban with a turban jewel across the front, surmounted by a black feathered aigrette. A sword signifying his rank lies across his body. He sits in strict profile with a heavy black beard and mustache. The paper is plain and uncolored except around the figure, which is painted against a white wash taking the shape of the seated man and his setting.
Inscriptions in devanagari script are above the painting.
Balbir Sen (ca. 1817–1851; r. 1839–1851) was born into a family that had ruled the small state of Mandi, in the foothills of the Himalaya, since the early sixteenth century. In this portrait he is shown seated on an orange rug, with a purple bolster pillow at his back. He is dressed in simple white robes, with only a few appurtenances of rank: a sword, a few pieces of modest jewelry, and a perky feather in his turban. Without resorting to fussy detail, the artist has convincingly portrayed a distinct personality. Although the almost geometric shapes create a flat pattern, there is nonetheless a sense of mass to the figure.