Posted on: 20 February 2013

Digital Rare Book:
Seventy-two Specimens of Castes in India (1837)

This is a manuscript titled "Seventy-two Specimens of Castes in India", which consists of 72 full-color hand-painted images of men and women of the various castes and religious and ethnic groups found in Madura, India at that time. Each drawing was made on mica, a transparent, flaky mineral which splits into thin, transparent sheets. As indicated on the presentation page, the album was compiled by the Indian writing master at an English school established by American missionaries in Madura, and given to the Reverend William Twining. The manuscript shows Indian dress and jewelry adornment in the Madura region as they appeared before the onset of Western influences on South Asian dress and style. Each illustrated portrait is captioned in English and in Tamil, and the title page of the work includes English, Tamil, and Telugu.

Source: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

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These were the brain-child of luxurious wealthy rulers of Indian Life !

Brahmins carried the Dawks of Merchants, Seths,(Bankers) for 1 pice, all over India, a Brahmin traveler was not touched or molested by Robbers, Thugs or Looters as it was considered a great sin. The letters were all written in Mudia script(Modi) which merchants knew all over India from Afghanistan, Kashmir to South India.