Jaipur, 4 March 1893

I spent the free time until reliable news about the confirmation of a tiger arrived to see the sights of Jaipur, in the main the museum owned by the maharaja and managed by  Dr. Hendley. The museum is located beyond the city walls in the gorgeous city park of around 28 ha and made an excellent impression by its wealth and suitable organization of its objects as well as their surprisingly good condition. The museum shows that Dr. Hendley guards his assigned treasures with lust and love and works with fervor on the collections.

In the spacious halls of the ground floor are all sorts of industrial art products of India arranged by states and production locations and clearly grouped. Of the products of primitive manual labor of the natives such as very simple ornaments and idols to the very precious products of industrial art, all stages and phases of the development of industrial art are demonstrated.

On the first floor is a rich natural science collection. This serves especially to educate the natives with direct objects as Dr. Hendley works from the correct principle that this sort of education has the strongest sustaining influence. In this departments are skeletons and cross sections of house animals, illustrations of their illnesses, their food — in another room one finds all poisonous snakes of India, the most common medicinal plants, the materials used for construction etc. Each object is suitable described on a sign and hosted in a systematically correct and easily comprehensible manner.

A special department presents with terracotta figures that have been very artistically modelled and extremely accurately painted scenes of popular life in India in a vivid representation. A cabinet  displays in this way all the trades of India, another one presents popular customs, marriages, banquets and funerals; a cross section of a house shows its rooms and its occupants doing their daily activities. All sorts of fakirs with their sick forms of self-inflicted harm are shown too. To my satisfaction Dr. Hendley was ready to arrange a collection of such models and send them to Vienna.

Around the museum, the maharaja’s zoological garden extends itself as an additional treasure of the city park. This vivarium made a very favorable impression on me not only by its cleanliness but also by the good looks of the animals, a sign of their especially good care: Even more so as the animals in the zoological gardens of India which I have already visited,  were all not well cared for. Large aviaries contain numerous and very interesting birds among them species of magpies and cuckoos with colorful glittering feathers, as well as swamp and water fowl of all kinds. The family of carnivores is very completely represented. As are the monkey species among whom a baboon (Hamadryas) stands especially high in the public’s favor as it, very mean, making the most horrible faces, bombards all spectators to their vivid pleasure with stones and sand. A nice house containing tame otters and a collection of deer deserve a special mention.

Exciting was a fight between two rhinos in which the two thick-skins had turned some sort of disagreement into an especially bitter fight, that only ended by the intervention of some caretakers armed with poles. Strange is the local custom to paint the rhinos fully in a gleaming black color.

The visit to the zoological garden was followed by a visit to the industrial art school in the city where, similar to Tellery’s institute in Delhi, a  large number of workers were occupied in the production of ornaments and artistic objects. In a drawing room boys were instructed for their future profession in drawing models.

Returned to the residence we learned — for fast delivery of news from the hunting area a relay service between it and the city had been established — that due to the cool weather no tiger had been confirmed. We therefore hunted black-bucks in the surrounding area of the city.

Already during the drive to Jaipur I had noticed the multitude of black-bucks out of the railway wagon and their strong horns, an observation whose correctness this hunt confirmed. As the males were not only much stronger but also more numerous than in Hyderabad. The hunting ground was a reserve of the maharaja where nobody but him and the resident were allowed to shoot. But it seems neither of these gentlemen were eager hunters of the game. That is why the black-bucks here were not as timid as elsewhere. I used a terribly bumpy ox cart for the hunt in whose presence the game did not flee. I communicated with the driver of the cart who was extremely talkative and offered many stories by miming as well as possible.  In this manner I bagged next to a small pond a young black-necked stork, some Indian bar-headed geese (Anser indicus), as well as eight black-bucks and one Chinkara- gazelle, the latter one with a coup double on that one and a black-buck. Many of the bagged bucks were truly capital specimens. The other gentlemen who had hunted in various directions returned with nine black-bucks.

At the end I hunted along the stream and bagged two beautiful sky-blue colored purple swamphens (Porphyrio poliocephalus), a valuable addition to my collection.

After the dinner attended by Mrs. Peacock with her daughters, numerous weapons dealer arrived in front of the residence and displayed their treasures and enticed us to purchases.

Links

  • Location:  Jaipur, India
  • ANNO – on 04.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a comedy „Gönnerschaften“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents the opera  „Merlin“.

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