Photos | A seductive spy : 100 years since the death of Mata Hari

Exotic dancer and suspected double agent Mata Hari was executed in Paris 100 years ago but her name endures today as that of the ultimate seductive spy. She was just 41 when she faced a firing squad accused of spying for Germany during World War I. On the anniversary of her death, here is a recap of her life of eroticism and intrigue that drew in a string of lovers, including ministers, military officers and diplomats from both sides of the frontline.

UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2017 05:52 PM IST 8 Photos
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A undated file photo of Dutch dancer and spy Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, better-known as Mata Hari. October 15, 2017 marks the 100 years since the suspected double agent Mata Hari was executed in Paris. She was just 41 when she faced a firing squad, accused of spying for Germany during World War I. Here is a recap of her life of eroticism and intrigue that drew in a string of lovers. (AFP)

A undated file photo of Dutch dancer and spy Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, better-known as Mata Hari. October 15, 2017 marks the 100 years since the suspected double agent Mata Hari was executed in Paris. She was just 41 when she faced a firing squad, accused of spying for Germany during World War I. Here is a recap of her life of eroticism and intrigue that drew in a string of lovers. (AFP)

UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2017 05:52 PM IST
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Captain Rudolph MacLeod, husband of the Dutch spy and dancer, Mata Hari. Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle in the Netherlands, she fled to Paris in 1903 at the age of 27 to start a new life after a rancorous divorce. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Captain Rudolph MacLeod, husband of the Dutch spy and dancer, Mata Hari. Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle in the Netherlands, she fled to Paris in 1903 at the age of 27 to start a new life after a rancorous divorce. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

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Penniless in Paris, the tall beauty reinvented herself, becoming a dancer in a striptease act and taking the name ‘Mata Hari’, Indonesian for ‘Eye of the Day’, apparently a reference to the sun. (Keystone / Getty Images)

Penniless in Paris, the tall beauty reinvented herself, becoming a dancer in a striptease act and taking the name ‘Mata Hari’, Indonesian for ‘Eye of the Day’, apparently a reference to the sun. (Keystone / Getty Images)

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Her Oriental ‘sacred dances’ pushed the boundaries of pre-war Europe and often saw her appearing to wear little more than a bejewelled brassiere. ‘In her time, she was as famous as Madonna...,’ the Washington Times said in a 2007 book review. (Keystone / Getty Images)

Her Oriental ‘sacred dances’ pushed the boundaries of pre-war Europe and often saw her appearing to wear little more than a bejewelled brassiere. ‘In her time, she was as famous as Madonna...,’ the Washington Times said in a 2007 book review. (Keystone / Getty Images)

UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2017 05:52 PM IST
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By 1914, however, her popularity was waning. She became a call girl in Paris, entertaining ministers and becoming known for her extravagant parties. Broke, due to her lavish lifestyle, in 1916 she accepted an offer from a German diplomat to pay off her debts if she spied on France. (Keystone / Getty Images)

By 1914, however, her popularity was waning. She became a call girl in Paris, entertaining ministers and becoming known for her extravagant parties. Broke, due to her lavish lifestyle, in 1916 she accepted an offer from a German diplomat to pay off her debts if she spied on France. (Keystone / Getty Images)

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Dutch spy Mata Hari is seen performing during the finale of the Dance of the Seven Veils. The ultimate femme fatale, she has inspired a dozen films, numerous books, historical works, exhibitions and even a ballet by the Dutch National Ballet. (Walery / Hulton Archive / Getty Images))

Dutch spy Mata Hari is seen performing during the finale of the Dance of the Seven Veils. The ultimate femme fatale, she has inspired a dozen films, numerous books, historical works, exhibitions and even a ballet by the Dutch National Ballet. (Walery / Hulton Archive / Getty Images))

UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2017 05:52 PM IST
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Seen above is a photo of the death bell which tolled on the evening of the execution of the Dutch spy Mata Hari in 1917 in France. In January 1917, the French authorities intercepted a cable from Germany appearing to identify Mata Hari as their ‘Agent H 21’. She was arrested and charged with being a double agent. (Henry Guttmann / Getty Images)

Seen above is a photo of the death bell which tolled on the evening of the execution of the Dutch spy Mata Hari in 1917 in France. In January 1917, the French authorities intercepted a cable from Germany appearing to identify Mata Hari as their ‘Agent H 21’. She was arrested and charged with being a double agent. (Henry Guttmann / Getty Images)

UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2017 05:52 PM IST
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Dutch courtesan and spy Mata Hari during World War I, on the day of her arrest. On her execution day, witnesses wrote that she wore a long, black velvet cloak with fur trimmings. She is also said to have declined a blindfold and blew kisses to her executors. Till this day, the nature and extent of her espionage activities remains uncertain. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Dutch courtesan and spy Mata Hari during World War I, on the day of her arrest. On her execution day, witnesses wrote that she wore a long, black velvet cloak with fur trimmings. She is also said to have declined a blindfold and blew kisses to her executors. Till this day, the nature and extent of her espionage activities remains uncertain. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2017 05:52 PM IST
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