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Album of 'Views of Mecca and Medina' by H. A. Mirza & Sons, Photographers [‎8v] (27/42)

The record is made up of 13 b&w photographic prints within blue card mounts, bound into one volume. It was created in c 1907. It was written in Urdu and English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.

About this item

Content

Genre/Subject Matter:

The album contains historical and architectural views of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, which relate to a South Asian Muslim perspective of the hadj.

Elements:

1 'Picture of the Tents of the Turks'

2 'Picture of the Sanctuary of Medina the Radiant'

3 'Picture of the City of Mecca the Great'

4 'Picture of the City of Medina the Radiant'

5 'Picture of the Sanctuary of Mecca the Great'

6 'Picture of Mount 'Arafat'

7 'Picture of the City of Medina the Radiant'

8 'Picture of the Bab 'Anbari'

9 'Picture of the Mosque of Khaif and Mina'

10 'Picture of the Mausoleum of Our Lord Amir Hamza, May God Be Pleased upon Him'

11 'Picture of the Paradise of al-Ma'ala'

12 'Picture of the Paradise Garden of al-Baqi' '

13 'Picture of the Mosque of Quba'

Distinctive Features:

Mechanically printed indigo double bars form a decorative frame on each window mount and are set approximately 10mm from edges. These intersect to form cruciform detailing and further decorative features. The same mechanical process and ink have been used to inscribe the initials ‘K.P.L.’ along the leftmost lower edge of the double bar detailing. In addition, in the same ink, a mechanically printed crescent moon and five-pointed star appear above the caption of each image, in the centre of the uppermost edge of each window mount.

Inscriptions:

Urdu inscriptions (nastaliq script) – in the form of prose and poetry, a caption and the name of the photographic firm – in hand applied red ink are set around each image. A stamp, applied directly onto each print and in the lower left-hand corner of each mount in Arabic script reads ‘copyright registered ’.

Labels:

On the verso The back of a paper sheet or leaf. of each print is a letterpress label describing, in English (Latin) and Arabic script, the image overleaf, all of which following this template:

"H. A. Mirza & Sons, Photographers. [....[caption]....with a brief description.] One sheet. Published by the Photographers: Delhi [Octr. 15, 1907.] 14x18° Litho. Ist Edition. Price, R.1, A4"

Temporal Context:

The latest possible creation date of the photographic prints is likely to be 1907, due to the publication date of the photographs by H. A. Mirza & Sons as noted in the label on the verso The back of a paper sheet or leaf. of each image (15 October 1907). Although officially accessioned to the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Library on 19 May 1909 (see ink stamp), it is likely that the affixed label was applied by the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Library. The numbering system (138-150) found on the labels follows a sequence laid out in the 'Catalogue of Books registered in the Punjab under Act XXV of 1867 and Act X of 1890 during the quarter ending the 31st March, 1907', since the individually mounted photographs were listed in this orer in the catalogue and were likely acquired by the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Library soon afterward. Under the premise that all of the photographs were taken on the same occasion and during the hadj in the years prior to their accession and subsequent binding by the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Library, the images may date to the following periods, which accord with the 8th to 10th of the lunar month Dhul-Hijjah, 1323 or 1324. (Hijri). Either:

Friday 2–Tuesday 6 February, 1906 CE

Wednesday 23–Sunday 27 January, 1907 CE

Extent and format
13 b&w photographic prints within blue card mounts, bound into one volume
Arrangement

Whereas the images in this album appear in a sequence devised, presumably, by the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Library, evidence put forward by Asani and Gavin in their essay 'Through the Lens of Mirza of Delhi' ( Muqarnas , Vol. 15 (1998), pp. 178–199) would indicate that the sequence of the only other extant and near identical copy of the album, collected by Fouad C. Debbas of Beirut, follows a more logical sequence: five scenes in or near Mecca, followed by seven scenes in or near Medina.

The second photograph in this album, which depicts the Haram at Medina (Photo 174/2), does not appear in the Debbas album, however, the prose and poetry surrounding the image are identical to those featured in Photo 174/4, which depicts he Haram from an alternative angle.

Physical characteristics

Dimensions:

Album: 457 x 384 mm [portrait]

Mounts (external): 350 x 446 mm

Mounts (internal): approx. 200 x 273 mm [landscape]

Format:

Maroon quarter-leather album containing thirteen prints held within window mounts.

Materials:

Mottled blue-tinted window mounts are laid over all thirteen Gelatin Silver prints Mechanical indigo and hand-applied red ink decoration feature on each mount

Condition:

While binding is still sturdy, extensive scuffing to the spine is evident. All window mounts are extensively bowed and edges are scuffed. The window mounts are stained in places, faded in others and warped throughout. The prints themselves show signs of fading, extensive bubbling and distortion across the surface. Some also show signs of surface losses.

Foliation:

The album has been foliated, 138–150 and 1–13; the numbers are indicated on the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. , in pencil, along the right hand edge and on the verso The back of a paper sheet or leaf. adjacent to the letterpress label, predominantly in ink.

Process:

Gelatin Silver prints

Binding:

The album is bound in maroon quarter-leather format, which is heavily scuffed along the spine. This binding dates to the accession of the images (1909) into the ‘Secretary of State for India Library’ and is indicated as such on the upper part of the spine by a gilt stamp. The spine also features gilt title: ‘Views of Mecca and Medina’. The binding features a linen and card joint.

Written in
Urdu and English in Arabic and Latin script
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Album of 'Views of Mecca and Medina' by H. A. Mirza & Sons, Photographers [‎8v] (27/42), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Photo 174, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023483748.0x00001c> [accessed 23 October 2017]

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