Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/46

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34
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

NOTES ON BHILS, BURMESE, AND BATTAKS.
By Dr. R. W. SHUFELDT.

ABOUT a year ago the distinguished anthropologist of the University of Zürich, Dr. Rudolph Martin, presented the writer with a small but very valuable collection of photographs of certain peoples of India and the East Indies. Some of these are very rare, and, upon searching the ethnological works in the Government libraries in Washington, I have been unable to find examples of quite a number of them.

PSM V50 D046 A bhil beauty of india.jpg
Fig. 1.—A Bhil Beauty, India.
Seen upon front view.

For instance, we have scarcely any literature upon the history of that truly interesting race of Indian peoples known as the Bhils. Two of my photographs (Figs. 1 and 2) are devoted to a Bhil beauty, the one giving her directly en face, and the other en profile. This is the true scientific method of photographing a subject of this kind, and it has been my experience among native races that it can usually be done. It practically very much enhances the value of either picture; for characters and objects of dress and ornament, seen upon front view, can often be only fully explained by the one taken upon lateral aspect, and vice versa.

In this Bhil woman, for example, the central fastening of the chain ornament at the fore end of the hair-parting is distinctly seen when we regard her from in front, whereas the very peculiar perforated, circular ornament of metal in the wing of the nose is but partly made out. Taken upon side view, these conditions are exactly reversed, and with a lens of moderate power one can easily study in detail the several interesting ornaments with which she has bedecked her head and neck. Upon profile, too, we can appreciate the nature of her headdress behind, which is quite out of the question when the subject, in this case, is seen from in front. This is likewise the only method