Postcard with Omani men showing off their fine khanjars and swords.

Group of Omani men in Zanzibar khanjars swords


Group of Omani Arabs taken by Countinho brothers in Zanzibar. Original Title " Arabs"  The Omani officials showing off their fine Saidi Khanjars (daggers) and ancient swords. See Evans (ref 1)   page 23 item 7 Published 1903-1911.  




Antique photo Zanzibar Omani men

Omani men, postcard by Coutinho brothers

Photographers: The Coutinho brothers

The Coutinho brothers established one of the first commercial photographic enterprises on the island of Zanzibar, some time in the 1870´s. Probably of Portuguese origin, little is known of their lives. The initial partnership between the two brothers lasted little over a decade, before J. B. Coutinho entered into partnership with A C Gomes & Sons c.1890. Gomes had opened his first studio in Aden before 1869, moving to Zanzibar in the early 1870´s, establishing what was probably the first studio on the island. That arrangement was dissolved on 31st July 1897, when the Coutinho Brothers started trading together once again

Their photographs of life in fin-de-siecle Zanzibar were sold singly and in albums, and form an important visual account of the period. When the photographic picture postcard started to gain popularity in the 1890´s, Coutinho Brothers cards were produced in great numbers, showing tribal characters and cultures, local fishermen and traders, and the architecture of Zanzibar, all clearly aimed at a tourist market. At some point c.1905, the brothers went their separate ways, Felix moving to Mombasa in Kenya, and opening a photographic company there, once again producing tourist images and postcards, but this time trading as Coutinho & Sons

  1. The Early postcards of Zanzibar by P.C. Evans East Africa Study Circle 2005