American Egyptomania Search


Handy-Bandy and Nadia-Nadyr in their Oriental Mysteries

American, ca. 1920

Sex sells, and in Egyptomania, the question of which came first – the sex or the mania – was impossible to answer. With Egyptomania came a whole host of already-packaged exotic erotic sexual images: slave women, harem girls, “Oriental” temptresses, even Cleopatra herself. In fact, so attached to one another were advertisements for Egyptian attractions and images of sex and exotic sexuality that, often, to advertise one was to guarantee the other; the whole set of connotations coming from images of “Oriental mysteries” made it easy to connect them to the “mysteries” of the female body, and, throughout its history, Egyptomania has been a crowded home to those who needed a venue to portray scantily clad women. This set of images is typical, if for no reason other what, exactly, Handy-Bandy and Nadia-Nadyr were capable of is left vague and intentionally unclear; performers of some sort, they were either magicians or striptease dancers, or some combination of both. The fact that one would have to pay to find out was entirely the point.

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Nadia Nadyr

in their oriental mysteries

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