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Paper Jewels: Postcards from the Raj

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Item Code: HAI035
Author: Omar Khan
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9788189995850
Pages: 361(with 159 Illustrations)
Other Details 12.50 X 9.50 inch
Weight 2.16 kg
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
About the Book
Postcards were to the people in 1900 what the Internet was to the world in 2000. Postcards can be thought of as the world's first mass transfusion of images. The world went from thousand to a billion postcards in a very short span of time, and the finest painters from India, Austria and Japan got involved.

Paper Jewels is the story of postcards during the Raj, and covers India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma. The first book on this subject, it is also the first to show hundreds of professionally restored images in original format. The volume uncovers such gems as the early postcards of the great Indian painter MV Dhurandhar and the Ravi Varma Press, the exceptional work of an early Austrian lithographer in Kolkata or a German one in Mumbai.

The essays cover the major cities and regions important to postcard publishing and the key themes-from religion to dancers, to tea, soap, famines, fakirs, humour and warfare. The volume displays the most beautiful and popular postcards, telling the stories of the first postcard publishers in the subcontinent between 1892 and 1947. Many of the images in the book have never been published since their first runs a century ago.

Paper Jewels relies almost entirely on primary research in archives and private collections in India, Europe and America done over a period of twenty years, and much of the story is entirely new.

About the Author
Omar Khan grew up in Vienna, Austria and Islamabad, Pakistan and is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Columbia and Stanford Universities. He has researched early photography and ephemera of the subcontinent for thirty years and acquired a large collection of the early postcards featured here. He is an avid historian, award- winning web designer and aspiring filmmaker.

Khan's previous book is From Kashmir to Kabul: The Photographs of John Burke and William Baker 1860-1900 (Prestel/Gallimard/Mapin, 2002). He has run the website harappa.com since 1995, and is Chief Technology Officer at Common Sense Media in San Francisco, California where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

There were many reasons for the appearance of the picture postcard in the 1890s. These included the invention of photography-photographs were common by the 1870s, and the mass-produced Kodak camera came out in the 1880s and greatly democratized the form. There were more liberal international postal regulations, and printing technologies like rapid press lithography were being exploited by small workshops and artisans in European and Indian cities. The growth of shipping and railway lines exemplified by cards like City Line To & From India (Figure 1) contributed to a fertile tourist market. Postcards as a messaging system were literally built on an iron communications network. At the same time, the spark that proved the concept came from advertising. It was business and marketing that helped underwrite the initially rather high costs for printing postcards.

It all began with Women Baking Bread (Figure 1). I was at my first postcard show in Concord, northern California, when the beauty of this little court-size card struck me. It carried me back to 5 Queens Road in Lahore, where my grandmother and a servant girl crouched on the veranda of a dilapidated mansion, chatting and making chapattis to be carried across the courtyard and cooked in a clay oven with straw awnings and charred wooden beams. It caught the warmth of that place. I marvelled at the tromp l'oeil on the postcard of the lantern and cloth, so effortlessly did they float above the women depicted. I bought the postcard. It is one I have rarely run into again, but I have since found many signed by the same artist, Paul Gerhardt, the search for whom is one of the things that propelled this book. His career shows how creatively driven the postcard medium was in its earliest years. Women Baking Bread began a twenty- year collecting spree that is far from over.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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