"The Moss Haired Girl" by Project B

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The Moss Haired Girl, Cabinet Card, Circa 1890

Photographic reproduction of original piece

Size: 19 cm x 13 cm x 2 cm

Among the main attractions of American carnivals, shows and circuses were the so-called "Circassian Beauties", women with extravagantly fine or mossy hair who supposedly descended from the "purest" peoples of the Caucasus mountains of Eurasia, in the little known Circasia region.

In fact, many of these beauties were American girls who cleverly teased and toughened their hair and adopted exotic names that invariably began with "Z", such as Zalumma, Zribeda, Zoledod, and Zeleke.

Shown here is Zoe Zobedia, one of PT Barnum's Circassian harem, who became the favorite subject of New York photographer Charles Eisenmann.

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