Thursday, January 24, 2008

Photos of the Mutiny

Thanks to a lovely post on MeFi, I found this terrific archive of photographs: The George Eastman House Collection. If you click on this link and scroll down the page, you will notice that there is a collection of pictures titled "INDIA".

In that collection are very rare photos from the Indian Mutiny years, all taken by a British photographer named Felice Beato. Explore the index for more photographs by him. (Oh, and just in case you want to get a grisly view of a Mutiny battle, look at this photo by Beato; courtesy: Wikipedia)

While googling for Beato, I found this interesting little tidbit about the man:
During his partnership with his brother-in-law, James Robertson, the pair photographed the Indian Mutiny. The pictures taken during this time during the 1850’s are thought to be the first to contain actual human corpses on the battlefield.
(Emphasis mine; source:

Lots of other pictures of interest in that collection, many shot by unknown photographers. Like this portrait called "Darjeeling Thief" or a portrait of a Tibetan doctor titled "Lama Doctor from Thibet (sic) - with human thigh bone trumpet, skull cup, and drum made of human scalps". You know you want to own a picture of a man carrying a drum made of human scalps.

One last thing. I was quite surprised by this photo of the Taj Mahal. What on earth happened to all those trees? (Space Bar, easy now.)

(Note: A Flickr user also has posted many of Beato's images. You may want to check them out on Flickr instead.)


Tabula Rasa said...

BRILLIANT post!! thank you!!

??! said...

wonderful. muchos gracias, senor.

km said...

TR: You're welcome. Now what's going between you, Sally and Mary?

??!: bienvenido (~venida?)

Tabula Rasa said...

oh, we're just friends :-)

km said...

LOL...and you don't want to introduce the two - ahem - lovely ladies to your blog friends? (Though I did run into Mary in India...)

Szerelem said...

Lovely post KM....thank you!

Space Bar said...

:D like i needed another reason to hyperventilate. just call me dogmatix, why don't you?

Anonymous said...

I wonder where those India photos were taken? Lovely architecture.

The Mutiny photo was so saddening..
okay, I am also really sad for the Taj mahal's trees, but I am sadder for the Mutineers. Even though, by now, all the Mutineers must have had their rebirths but the trees have nowhere to g(r)o(w).

km said...

Lekhni: All those pictures have scene/location descriptions in the Index. And what if the Mutineers came back as trees?

Spacebar: Yelp!

szerelem: you are welcome.

Rahul said...

Late to comment, I was away... You may also like these photos of 19th-century India, put up by the photographer's grandson, a well-known statistical physicist.