Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Tea advertising, die cut featuring PT Barnum elephant.

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Tea advertising, die cut featuring PT Barnum elephant.

New York: 1884. Charming large color tea advertisement featuring a grandmother (who closely resembles Queen Victoria), riding in a howdah atop the famous PT Barnum white elephant known as "Toung Taloung".

Further enhancing the Queen Victoria link, the text printed below her image reads, "The Gt Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co's Teas and Coffees have been my solace through life. Grandmother".

At the foot of the card is the caption "Toung Taloung ["Or Gem of the Sky"]". This beautiful elephant was acquired by PT Barnum from King Thibaw of Burma. Barnum billed the animal as the first "sacred white elephant" in America. It is depicted with mainly pink draperies, with a large pink tassel hanging from its headdress, and two small pink umbrellas attached to its tusks.

The elephant was brought from Burma by ship through the Suez Canal, to England, where it was exhibited for several weeks at the London Zoological Gardens. It became a sensation in the British and American press; racist attitudes of the day presumed that white elephants were superior to non white elephants.

PT Barnum, who previously had passed off a regular elephant which had been painted white as a true white elephant, and who had paid a large sum for Toung Taloung, now was worried that this true curiosity might not be accepted as authentic!

9 x 10 1/2". Chromolithograph on board. Back of board mostly covered with scrap album paper. Small rubbed area on pink fabric covering the elephant. Not found in WorldCat. Very good condition. Item #24784

Price: $175.00