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Madras. A catamaran

Madras. A catamaran

Photographer: Nicholas and Company

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 406/2(41)

Item number: 406241

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a catamaran at Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, taken by Nicholas & Company during the 1880s, from an album of 62 views of India and Ceylon. ‘Catamaran’ is a generic term for a shaped raft of bamboo or logs fastened together in various ways and today has come to denote swift, light, double-hulled boats. The term derives from South India where ‘kattumaram’ (or kathu maram) in the Tamil language means ‘tied logs’ and refers to a log raft used off the open beaches by Tamil and Telegu fishermen for line and net fishing. The vessel varies in design but the one shown here is slim with a pointed, upturned bow, and constructed from logs lashed together. The crew wear pointed woven hats.

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