Kota Men and Women
Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a group of Kota men and women from the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, taken by an unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts in 1871-72. This photograph forms Plate XV of James Wilkinson Breeks 'An Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilgiris' (India Museum, London, 1873). Breeks was the Commissioner of the Nilgiris and wished to make a record of the indigenous hill-tribes of the region before their way of life, customs and legends died out due to increasing western influences. The Kotas live in large communities, each village containing anywhere from 30 to 60 huts that are built with mud walls and covered with thatch grass. The women make clay pots on a wheel, work in the fields, cook, and fetch water and firewood. Several men of each village work as forges, using bellows, pincers and hammers.