Orientalist Images


This Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset (MCADD) consists of a collection of books, journals and maps related broadly to the Himalayas and its outlying attached ranges including the Hindu Kush, the Karakorams, the Pamirs, the Tian Shan and the Kuen Lun as well as the Tibetan highlands and the Tarim basin. These materials are housed in this site, and are freely available for personal non-commercial use and downloading.

Some of this material was originally downloaded from the Google Books website, but often this material from Google has been augmented by the addition of maps and other oversize materials that were excluded when the original Google scans were done and/or the addition of missing pages. For example, the Google scans of the 50 volumes of the Royal Geographical Society Journal, published between 1830 and 1880 do not include any of the oversize maps—these maps have all now been scanned and some 450 maps added in their proper location to each of the journal volume pdf files on the PAHAR website.

Various aids to searching specific topics, such as indexes of articles related to the MCADD geographic area (Himalaya, Tibet and Central Asia) have also been prepared for the more prolific journals, such as those of the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Central Asian Society, and the Asiatic Society of Bengal. (more…)

There are many postcards on the Internet from old Aden under British control. Photographers in Aden were not immune to the Orientalist gaze on the curious and the bizarre.

to be continued… for #15, click here.

December eyes are fixed on Bethlehem, which has been an inspiration for artists over many years and indeed centuries. On this Christmas day, take a look at Bethlehem as it might have looked more than a century ago.


Left hand element of a stereoscopic photograph of the Bethlehem region circa 1900. Courtesy of Glenn Bowman.


Approaching Bethlehem. Source: Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee.

The following two illustrations of Bethlehem can be found on the website (Jerusalem in 19th Century Art) put up by James E. Lancaster.


Bethlehem Tinted lithograph printed by Day & Son, after David Roberts, published about 1855.

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The Prince of Wales and group at the Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, March 1862 Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Prints from first photographed royal tour go on show at Buckingham Palace. Click here to see ten images.


Turkey – “The sick man of Europe”, by John Leech, Punch, September 17, 1853

For a fascinating collection of cartoons, many from Punch, since 1853, check out the website “A Cartoon History of the Middle East,” compiled by Peter Casillas.

There is an extraordinary collection of 47 Magic Lantern slides from the 1930 Beloit College Logan Museum Expedition to Algeria by George L. Waite, the photographer and cinematographer. This is available in an online collection at the website of the Smithsonian Institution. Click here to access the collection.

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In a previous post I continued a series on the universal history of John Clark Ridpath. The image above is the classic image of a preacher, looking more Gospel than imamic to my eyes. I would question the sincerity of a famed imam who relied on a print version of the Quran rather than his own memory, as the image above suggests. The “preacher” with hands outstretched is a trope that crosses cultures, whether or not it is the cross being pounded on the pulpit (and certainly not on the minbar). Consider John Eliot who set his eyes on converting the “heathen” natives of the new world:

Or the long history of fire-and-brimstone wailing of American Protestants.

In a previous post I continued a series on the universal history of John Clark Ridpath. As one might expect, a particularly important place is reserved for Mecca itself. The image above is an ornamentation for the start of Ridpath’s discussion of Islam. The image below is a drawing of the hajj season where any sense of the individual is lost, resulting in a blur of heads.

to be continued

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