Tank near the large Hindoo temple, Madras
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the tank near the Parthasarathi Temple, at Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. The tank is situated outside the east entrance to the temple, which is visible on the far side. It was used for bathing, and has stepped sides to facilitate access. As is sometimes the case there is a pavilion in the middle. Tanks are a feature of Hindu temple complexes and are found either within the compound or just outside the walls. The temple is one of two large temple complexes in Madras and is situated in Triplicane. It dates from the 17th century and is a celebrated sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity, Vishnu as Parthasarathi. Little seems to be known about Frederick Fiebig. He was probably born in Germany and became a lithographer (and possibly was also a piano teacher) in Calcutta, publishing a number of prints in the 1840s. In the late 1840s Fiebig turned to photography using the calotype process, producing prints that were often hand-coloured. His photographs includes several hundred views of Calcutta in the early 1850s, one of the earliest detailed studies of a city, a large hand coloured collection of which were bought by the East India Company in 1856, their first major acquisition of photographs. Among the roughly 500 pictures were views of Calcutta, Madras, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Cape Town.