Scope and Contents
This item is a 24-sheet cloth-covered sketchbook of drawings depicting participants in the Bastar Dussehra festival, celebrated in the Chhattisgarh (what used to be known as the Bastar) region of India. A reproduction of the original handwritten paper sticker on front cover has been pasted down in replacement of the original. The sticker states: Bastar State-Desara Feastival [sic]. The sketches were drawn on paper from J. Whatman Papers, a papermill company in Britain. The item includes 19 sketches in colored chalks and watercolor, while 9 are in pencil--many with descriptive captions, mostly legible. This sketchbook is the work of an accomplished amateur, a very engaged tourist, or perhaps a colonial official under the British Raj. The festival revolves around the chariot, pictured near the beginning of the album, pulled by various castes and representing the chariot brought back from Puri by the ruler 500 years ago. Other rituals depicted involve a virgin on a thorn-swing and a yogi buried shoulder-deep in earth in addition to other ceremonies and costumes. The sketches were likely drawn around 1900, given the prevalence of this type of sketchbook that Whatman produced at the turn-of-the-century.