Kurumbas with House
Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a group of Kurumbas in front of a house in 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 XXIII 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 Kurumbas live in small villages of 4 to 5 houses made of wattle and mud. The Kurumba women are known to wear numerous bead necklaces, iron bracelets and nose and ear rings. The men make baskets of ratan, nets of oilhatti thread, and milk vessels out of bamboo stems.