Kota women, making pots
Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Kota women making pots from the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, taken by an unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts in c. 1871-72. This photograph forms Plate XVII 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. The potter's wheel consists of a disc of wood that revolves on a blunt iron point and can be seen in this photograph.