Grain sellers shop, (?)Bombay
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a grain sellers (Banya's) shop at Bombay in Maharashtra, taken by an unknown photographer in c. 1873, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. This image, of merchants seated among wicker baskets of grain in front of their shop, was probably shown at the Vienna Exhibition of 1873. The accompanying text to this image, or a similar one, printed in John Forbes Watson's catalogue to the exhibition, states, "Bunneas are universal all over India. They are the hucksters or small traders of the people. A Bunnea's shop or stall contains meal and fine flour of wheat, with sogie or semoline, meal of millets and different kinds of pulse, rice, split peas, and pulse of many kinds; for all these are used in the farinaceous diet of the people , which is almost universal. He sells also parched rice and peas, gram, or horse corn, and generally every article of food, except vegetables and meat, with which he has no concern. Besides these he has condiments, salt, chillies, black pepper, green and dry ginger, and garlic (but not onions)...He has also a small store of spices - cassia, cardomoms, cloves, and mace; sugar, too, of various kinds; goor, or molasses; and, in some instances, sweetmeats...In short, the Bunnea is grocer and purveyor in general in every village and town in India. The Bunneas also lend money". After photography was introduced into India in the 1840s it rapidly grew in popularity, particularly as a means to record the vast diversity of people and their dress, manners, trades, customs and religions.