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 »

Copper-Plate Inscription, Thiruchendur

This is an eighteenth-century copper plate inscribed in Tamil. It is a record dating back to 1760 CE that states the traders of villages, including Kottaru Aloorupettai, Sivakasi Virudhugupetti, and Sivathondu Maanadupettai, gave their monthly expenses for cotton, tobacco, and kaalchattai (trousers), as well as for the puja (worship ritual) of Maheshvara in the month… Read more »

Tellicherry on the coast of Malabar

This is a view of Tellicherry on the coast of Malabar in the Kannur district. This view was originally illustrated by James Forbes (1749-1819) who arrived in Bombay as a 16-year-old in February 1766 and departed 17 years later after occupying several administrative posts with the East India Company. Only around the end of the… Read more »

Sultan Mohamed Shah’s tomb, Bejapore (Bijapur)

This 19th-century engraving of the tomb of Mohamed Adil Shah, the 7th ruler of Bijapur, Karnataka,  was drawn by S. Prout, a British artist, after a sketch by R. Elliot, a Royal Navy officer. After the Bahmani kingdoms  (1347-1526 A.D)  fell apart, the Adil Shah dynasty of Bijapur rose to prominence as the most potent… Read more »


This coloured lithograph showing a boat nearing the rough shores of Madras was drawn by Leighton and later engraved by William Frederick Measom (active. 1840-1876) in the 19th century. In 1639, a British trading corporation was granted permission to establish a factory on a three-mile-long stretch of the shore on the Coromandel. The Nayakas, feudatory… Read more »

Whose land is it anyway?

We examine the themes presented in Saju Kunhan’s work as they are represented in our collection of rare 19th-century portraits, war photography, engravings, contemporary art and Warli painting

Zarina Hashmi and the idea of home

Witness to the horrors of Partition as a child, Zarina dedicated her decades-long career to exploring the idea of home and belonging, and the lingering pain of displacement

View of Anfa, Azamor, Diu and Goa from Civitates Orbis Terrarum

In the early history of map-making, the representation of cities was mostly done as sketches that were part of book illustrations or primarily bird’s-eye views. This composite view is part of Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg’s, the Civitates Orbis Terrarum. The first volume of this landmark atlas was published in 1572, and its final volume… Read more »

The Storming of Seringapatam (triptych)

A mezzotint engraving produced by John Vendramini, this triptych illustrates three episodes from the final victory of the British over the Mysore state during the 4th Anglo-Mysore War (1798-99). Spanning nine feet across, it was created after a painting by Sir Robert Ker Porter, one of the first artists to depict this landmark episode in… Read more »

Native officials of Coorg, India

This image from the Illustrated London News shows the capital city of Coorg, Mercara, or Madikeri, from a distance (above) and the native Kodava officials of Coorg in their traditional attire (below). The Kodava kingdom of Coorg bitterly opposed the expansionist Mysore state under Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan, resulting in one of the most… Read more »

Hill-Fort of Kurmudroog

Engraving after a drawing by James Welsh, Lieutenant Colonel in the army of the East India Company, published in his ‘Military Reminiscences: extracted from a journal of nearly forty years’ active service in the East Indies? in 1830. Welsh describes the once impregnable fort of Kurmuldroog, or Kurnallah, as twice as inaccessible as Nundydroog (Nandidurga).… Read more »

The Hill Fort of Nundydroog

Engraving after a drawing by James Welsh, Lieutenant Colonel in the army of the East India Company, published in his ‘Military Reminiscences: extracted from a journal of nearly forty years’ active service in the East Indies’ in 1830. The fort of Nundydroog, or Nandidurga, located on a hilltop north east of Bangalore in the Baramahal… Read more »