Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a Kurumba Motta (village) in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, taken by an unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts in 1871-72. This photograph forms Plate XXVI 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. Of the Kurumbas he wrote, "They live on the slopes in villages called mottas, 4 or 5 houses generally form a village. The walls are made of wattle and mud and the better sort have the fronts white-washed and covered with...drawings of animals and men in charcoal and red earth."