18th century India

Copper-Plate Inscription, Madurai

This is an eighteenth-century copper plate with a village grant inscribed in Tamil. In 1733 CE, villages named Suriyan Kuttam and Sembikuttam from Kuruchikadu in Madurai mandalam (province) were granted to Anand Iyengar, son of Narayana Iyengar from Nettoor by Kumaramuthu Ragunatha Sethupathikatha Thevar, the son-in-law of Ragunatha Sethupathi (r. 1713-1725 CE), who ruled the… Read more »

A Lion Hunt

This is a brush drawing from the 18th century depicting a lion hunt and is attributed to the Mughal style. As symbols of imperial wealth and power, the Mughal painting tradition frequently depicted elephants and lions as subjects, especially in hunting scenes. This visual documentation suggests that artists from the Mughal ateliers accompanied the Emperor… Read more »

The Birth of Christ

This later Mughal miniature shows the ‘Birth of Jesus Christ’ by an unidentified artist. True to the realm of Mughal miniatures of this time produced around European themes, the setup and backdrop remain entirely Indian. Women dressed in native ensembles and veils cater to the newborn as Mother Mary lies on a bed wrapped up… Read more »

Cananoor (Plan of the Cannanore, Kannur Fort)

This is a ground plan of the Kannur Fort in Kerala. The map is attributed to François Valentijn (1666-1727), a Dutch Minister and employee of the VOC (Dutch East India Company). Don Francesco de Almedia, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, constructed the Kannur Fort, also known as St. Angelo’s Fort, in 1505. For more… Read more »

Gulf of Ganges, Gulf of Bengal, and New Descriptions

This map, made by Johannes Janssonius (1588-1664), a Dutch cartographer, illustrates the Bay of Bengal in detail and is one of the oldest sea maps. While it may appear disorienting, the inclusion of ‘Orixa’ and ‘Ceylon’ aid in establishing orientation, with Ceylon to the left of the map representing the south. The Dutch East India… Read more »

Portrait of Horse Fatem Marakha, a personal ride of Maharana Pratap

This miniature painting depicts Maharana Pratap Singh’s Horse Fatem Marakha. Maharaja Pratap Singh (1764-1803) of Jaipur was the younger son of Maharaja Madho Singh. He ascended to the throne at 14 and reigned for over 25 years. Following the decline of Mughal court paintings, the Rajput and Pahari schools of painting increased in popularity. During… Read more »

Portrait of Horse Dilsringar, the ride of Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh

This miniature painting depicts Maharana Pratap Singh’s horse Dilsringar painted using opaque pigment on paper in the 18th century. Maharaja Pratap Singh (1764-1803) of Jaipur was the younger son of Maharaja Madho Singh. He ascended to the throne at 14 and reigned for over 25 years. Poems, art, and architecture were among Maharaja’s passions. The… Read more »

A voyage from England to India, in the year MDCCLIV

A voyage from England to India was published in the late 18th century and contains two large folding maps and 13 etched illustrations. It recollects Edward Ives’s (1719-1786) service in India with the British Army. Edward Ives was a surgeon on board the flagship Kent, commanded by Charles Watson (1714-1757). The travelogue chronicles Ives’ remarks… Read more »

Fort St. David with the French Attack, May 1758

The Fort St. David in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, was originally a British headquarters for southern India, as seen on this map. It was attacked by the French forces led by Dupleix. The fort was renovated by the French in 1782, but then it was captured by the British in 1785. The map highlights the areas… Read more »

Nikusiyar, Silver Rupee of Akbarabad Mint

Nikusiyar, son of Muhammad Akbar and grandson of Aurangzeb, was the 12th ruler of the Mughal Empire. At the age of sixteen, he was appointed the Subehdar of Assam, a position he held for a brief period from 1695-1701. Following this he served as the Subehdar of Sindh from 1702 to 1707. However, with the… Read more »

Manuscript of Shalihotra Samhita, Jodhpur

Shalihotra was a 3rd Century BC expert on animal rearing and healthcare. The veterinary treatise (Samhita) that he composed consists of 12,000 verses, and has been translated into Persian, Arabic, Tibetan, and English. This copy of Shalihotra Samhita dates from the late 18th century. It contains 160 illustrations of elephants and horses, illnesses and conditions… Read more »

Map of Tritchinapoly

This map titled, A Map Of The Country Extending Ten Miles To The West, And Eighteen To The East Of Tritchinapoly, was created by cartographer and engraver Thomas Kitchin. Trichinopoly was a central backdrop to the Carnatic wars in mid 18th century India. The Seven Years’ War interaction on the Indian subcontinent between 1757 to… Read more »