Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Witches of Kashmir

"I know no country on earth where so many witches could be enlisted for Macbeth, if, instead of three, Shakespeare had wanted a hundred thousand."

Words of French naturalistVictor Jacquemont in another translated version of his originally in french, 'Letters from India'(1834). I have previously written at length about his letter [here] but after coming across a fresh caustic version of his judgement on un-beauty of Kashmiri women in 'The Asiatic journal and monthly miscellany, Volume 15' published in 1834 by East India Company [Google Book Link] and in 'Letters from India and Kashmir' (1870) by J. Duguid, I felt like borrowing an old insult and digging up his bones from the grave and then burying him again. And what better way than this...

A Pandit Woman by Pandit Vishwanath, 1920. [More about this first Pandit photographer here]
Found on ebay. Phtotographer unknown. My guess Fred Bremner from 1900.

'A Kashmiri nautch girl with a hookah' by Mortimer M. Menpes (1860-1938)[via: christies ]
[More Kashmir work by Mortimer Menpes here]
'Two Natch Girls' by William Carpenter [via: Victoria and Albert Museum].
More works of William Carpenter on Kashmir here
'A Beauty of the Valley' by G. Hadenfeldt, found in  'The Charm of Kashmir' (1920) by V.C. Scott O'connor.  [previously posted here]
Natch Girls, albumen print by Francis Frith from 1870s.

Dancing-girl of Cashmere, a wood engraving from the 1870s by Emile Bayard.
Above two are from the servers of columbia.edu, scavenged from an ebay listing dated 2001 and 2009 respectively. Someone over there must have gone through the same loop that I am going through now.
 [My detailed post on Kashmiri Natch Girls
from 'Our summer in the vale of Kashmir' (1915) by Frederick Ward Denys.

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