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Snake charmers

Snake charmers

Photographer: Shepherd and Robertson

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1863

Shelfmark: Photo 15/10(54)

Item number: 54

Length: 18.4

Width: 21.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of two snake charmers blowing their pipes at Delhi in India. This photograph is reproduced as illustration no. 205, and captioned as 'Jogis', in volume IV of John Forbes Watson's The People of India (1869). The accompanying text states, "These Jogis must not be confounded with Jogis who are religious devotees...The photograph displays two of the tribe exhibiting cobra capellas, or nags, and playing to them upon an instrument made of a gourd of peculiar shape, into which a reed with holes is fitted, which has six holes; sometimes there are two reeds set side by side. The sound is like that of a flageolet, and is often mellow and sweet...These snake exhibitors have usually many kinds of reptiles in their baskets, large rock snakes, and boas, armadillos, and mungooses, which are trained to fight snakes...Jogis are not dependant upon their snakes alone for subsistence. They not unfrequently possess herds of asses, upon which they transport salt from place to place, dye stuffs and other light produce, which can be carried in small loads...They also sell drugs and simples, which they collect in the jungles and fields; and occasionally, when settled for a while, prescribe them to persons suffering under chronic complaints."

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