The Argentine aperitif “Pineral”

The photo on the left, taken in front of Cafe Tortoni in the 1890’s. The Argentine aperitif “Pineral” was so popular that Ángel Villoldo (composer of El Choclo) wrote a tango dedicated to it, the sheet music can be seen on the right.

While at first, the photo on the right seems to be of a puppet, it is actually “Smaun Sing-Hpoo.”  Smaun had become a sensation while performing in Buenos Aires.  So Tortoni Cafe hired Smaun to pose for this photo to promote Pineral drinks.

Smaun was born on September 6th 1883 in Mergui, British Burma. He stood 2 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed 20 pounds.  Smaun had a sister named Fatma, who was 2 years older than Smaun and 2 inches taller. Their parents and three brother were all of average height. Smaun and Fatma performed in the “Kingdom of Lilliput” circus, with performances in Europe and the US in the 1890’s. Fatma died in the US in 1903 at the age of 22.  She is buried at the Magnolia Cemetary in Beaumont, Texas.

Smaun Sing-Hpoo
You can read more about Smaun at Ko Toe Philately.