Archaeological reconnaissance in north-western India and south-eastern Iran by Sir Aurel Stein, 1937
TITLE Archaeological reconnaissances in north-western India and south-eastern India
AUTHOR Aurel Stein
PUBLICATION Macmillan, London
TOTAL No. OFILLUSTRATION 14slides (SL-49409-SL-49422)



954 STE
ACC.No. LD 23509


Europeans have been fascinated and intrigued by the Orient from earliest antiquity. Historical changes in distant western parts of the globe obtrusively involved Asian countries in their concerns. An unwelcome curiosity about eastern law and custom, society and government exposed these hitherto secluded areas to the western gaze. The age-old mysteries that had surrounded them crumbled.

The first western visitations to the Orient were prompted by mundane commercial pursuits, and they paved the way for a fundamentally different form of European entry to these shores. Gradually, the enormous repositories of culture and history stimulated the curiosity of scholars. Artists, philosophers and classicists delved energetically and fruitfully into Asian art, religion and literature.

Among them, the artist has always occupied a distinctive place of honor. It fell to him to interpret the intricate sensibilities that underlay the wealth and variety forms and communicate their essence to an incredulous audience in the west. There is a rich profusion of monuments and other artifacts that bear witness to the sophisticated artistry of the people of the east.

1.Views of Himalayan Mountain (1820) by Fraser,J.B.-Himalayas since time immemorial have been the source and inspiration to Art, architecture and cultural of South East Asia. Pilgrims from length and breadth of Country traverse thousands of km to seek salvation. Over the year, interference with the eco-system, deforestation etc. and the foreign intrusions have changed the over all character of the valley of Gods.

The paintings drawn by J.B.Fraser in 1820 and engraved in this rare book by Robt Havell and Son present the picturesque spots of the Himalayan region. The artist has captured the landscape in its true colours and in every frame, regional architecture is highlighted thereby allowing lot of scope to have a deeper probe in the Himalayan cultural tracts. The Yamuna and Ganga river valleys and its small tributaries along with the small shrines and hamlets add to the spiritual dimension of this beautiful album.2 Views in the Mysore country (1794) by Captain A. Allen-. The twelve page description in the book is followed by the twenty drawings on handmade paper in monochrome by Captain A Allen and engraved by J.Wells. the illustrations are centered around the forts which were captured by the British Troops in the year 1790-92 under hentenant general Earl Cornwallis. The forts, acted as a garrison of arms and ammunition and provisions and during the war time were put into state of defense. The forts were important for strength and situation. The author has given the descriptive account of seizure of number of forts from Tipu Sultan.

The first illustration is of the Mausoleum at Colar, which was a burial place of the ancestors of Hyder Ali Khan followed by the illustrations of forts captured by British Troops. Plate 19 represents the Mausoleum of Hyder Ali Khan and Plate 19 depicts the procession of Tipu’s sons coming out as hostages.

The forts which are center agate of illustrations supplemented by text the landscape, flaura fauna and the marching troops depicted in the drawings place the enclosure wall in the state of alert and defence there by bringing out the romance of war.

3. EC Sturt Baker’s Indian Pigeons and Doves (1913) deals with the most beautiful birds from the point of view of the sportsman and field naturalists as well as from the scientific or museum naturalists. This work was for the first time introduced to India in the trinomial system that is so say, the system, which recognizes subspecies. It attempted to collate the maximum available information at that time and added as many sporting and field notes as have been obtainable. In classification it is very close to Blandford’s Fauna of British India series.

4. G.P.Baker’s Calico Painting and Printing in the East Indies in the 17thand 18thcenturies covers a wide field of research, involving both historical and technical study of the specimen of this fascinating art, scattered in the art and technical museums of Europe and U.K., as well as in private collections of professional designers and some British and Dutch families whose ancestors were connected with the East Indies. The set of facsimiles reproduced in the book reveal the most characteristic examples of this most captivating and little known art. Due to the perishable nature of the fabrics, even the few examples that have survived, will, in the course of time, be gradually lost to the art lovers of the world except those who are preserved in the museums equipped with preservation techniques. As example of decorative art, some of these printed Calicoes are unsurpassed in design; they reveal an art, which had reached such a pitch of perfection that it presupposes long centuries of apprenticeship and practice. The ornament of large trees growing from mounds of earth, enlivened with all the rich flora of the Orient and diversified with various birds, monkeys, squirrels, butterflies and miniature elephants, form much of the motif in these exquisite specimens reproduced in this series of picture postcards.

5. In James Fergusson’ Picturesque Illustrations of Ancient Architecture in Hindostan, published in 1847, he introduced in the study of Indian architecture typological classification of structures, fixing a chronology on the basis of the dated examples. He took painstaking care in preparing the plates given in the book. He vouched for their correctness as they were all based on sketches taken on the spot with camera lucida and never afterward touched till put into the hands of the artist in England. Though the foregrounds and the skies were generally the artist’s, he ensured that the buildings were literal transcripts of his sketches. He asserted that they were the most correct delineations of Indian Architecture that had been given to the public till that time. The twelve plates selected from his work represent temples located in Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, etc.

6.Birds of Paradise by D.G.Elliot have always attracted the attention of bird-lovers and naturalists on account of their charming and unusual plumage. Among the many and diversified ornithological groups of which we have any knowledge, there is none that contain species possessing a more extraordinary and abnormal style of plumage than that in which are included the beautiful creatures universally known as Birds of Paradise. Even the present day naturalist, however adventurous, does not find it easy to successfully explore these birds. It is because of their habitation in lands with dense forests, rugged terrain, and unhealthy climate, besides hostility of the native tribes. It is not surprising, therefore, that a number of absurd and exaggerated stories have been current in the air, that they live in the air and that they hatch their eggs under their wings. However, ornithologists are successful in studying, and describing the characteristics of the Birds of Paradise. A selection of 12 birds for this series of picture postcards will interest art lovers, and naturalists alike.

7.A Picturesque Voyage to India by the way of China by Thomas Daniell and William Daniell –

The monuments and other artifacts that have provided artists- and photographers- with a limitless source of inspiration have been preserved by a people with a strong sense of history. The Daniell’s were optimistic that the pictorial records of their voyages would be vibrant expressions of an ancient culture. This would enrich the nature of the ties that bound England and India together. The bonds of a communicated aesthetic would add a dimension immeasurably more lasting than any other strand of the colonial relationship. It is this hope that informs the engravings by Thomas Daniell and William Daniell portrayed in this set of cards. They convey some of the flavor of this fecund interaction between the European eye and Asian scenes.