Sindhi women on a camel.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of two Sindhi women seated on a camel being led by a man, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1890s in Sindh, Pakistan. Sindh, in the lower Indus Valley, derives its name from the great river, known locally as the Sindhu, and is dotted with ancient settlements including Mohenjo-Daro, one of the world's most important archaeological sites. With its strategic location bordering the Arabian Sea and encompassing the Indus delta, the province was vulnerable to foreign influences, providing an access point to invaders and visitors journeying towards the East and the Indian sub-continent. Alexander's fleet came here in 326 BC, and the Arab conquest of Sindh in the 8th century heralded the advent of the Islamic period of the sub-continent. Centuries of invasions and migrations have resulted in a diversity of ethnic groups and tribes in Sindh, including large numbers of Rajputs and Jats. The province is a great centre of textile arts as evinced in the saddleblanket on the camel and the clothes of the women, and has a wealth of tribal designs for textiles and carpets. Dyeing is a specialised craft here and Sindh is renowned for block-printing and tie-and-dye. Pakistan is the third largest camel-raising nation after Somalia and Sudan, and camels are still intensively used as transport and pack animals, as well as in agriculture for ploughing and irrigation, and as a source of milk. This photograph is from an album of 91 prints apparently compiled by P. J. Corbett, a PWD engineer involved in irrigation work at the famine relief camp at Shetpal Tank in 1897, and in canal construction in Sindh in the early 1900s.