Introduction: Marriage's Global Past

25 Sep 2017

The picture looks familiar to Western eyes—the happy couple cutting the cake to celebrate their marriage. The pose is classic wedding stuff— hands of both spouses holding the knife on the tall white cake. It was a special moment, one to treasure in photos. Yet one man’s expression is cheeky, like a naughty school boy. The expression and the picture suggest that they were doing something utterly traditional, yet at the same time outrageously subversive. Indeed they were.