Juggernauth Car, [Madras]
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a temple car at Madras, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. This is a view of a canopied pavilion and a temple car, decorated in preparation for an annual religious festival when it would be pulled through the city in procession. ‘Juggernauth’ or ‘juggernaut’ is a corruption of the Sanskrit word ‘Jagannatha’, or ‘Lord of the Universe’, an incarnation of the principal Hindu deity, Vishnu, worshipped at the famous shrine of Puri in Orissa, where the famous annual car festival happens. Little seems to be known about Frederick Fiebig. He was probably born in Germany and became a lithographer (and possibly was also a piano teacher) in Calcutta, publishing a number of prints in the 1840s. In the late 1840s Fiebig turned to photography using the calotype process, producing prints that were often hand-coloured. His photographs includes several hundred views of Calcutta in the early 1850s, one of the earliest detailed studies of a city, a large hand coloured collection of which were bought by the East India Company in 1856, their first major acquisition of photographs. Among the roughly 500 pictures were views of Calcutta, Madras, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Cape Town.