Anthropology

The Costume of Hindostan

East India Company was a highly influential force in Britain by the end of the 18th century. It was fabulously wealthy, and the British leaders were among its stockholders. Naturally, then, there was curiosity among the ordinary Britons about the people in a faraway land whose politics and culture was suddenly part of the national… Read more »

The Oriental Annual, or, Scenes in India

It’s a word that makes us cringe today, but the ‘Orient’ was a place of infinite charm for artists of Victorian England. To them, the British colonies of the East were exotic regions of smouldering intrigue, where dark-eyed, inscrutable people went about their mysterious ways. Of course, now we know this attitude to be ignorant—at… Read more »

Travels among the Todas

In the 19th century, there was great excitement among western anthropologists about the discovery of a ‘primitive’ tribe deep in the misty heart of the Nilgiris. The Todas are a pastoral community of Dravidian origins and among the earliest outsiders who landed to document them was William E Marshall, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Bengal Staff Corps.… Read more »

Village Todas, Nilgherries (now Nilgiri)

This ethnographic photograph is of the distinctive huts of a Toda Mund (village) at Ootacamund in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. Traditionally pastoralist, the Todas in the past lived in thatched houses spread over the slopes of the Nilgiris. This picture is one of many examples of ethnographic photographs captured at the end of… Read more »