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'Negersklaven mit dem Ṯúmburah-orchester'. Photographer: Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje [‎20r] (1/1)

The record is made up of 1 print. It was created in 1888. It was written in German. 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.

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Genre/Subject Matter:

This two-colour printed drawing shows a troupe of twelve seated and standing men, several holding musical instruments. They are described as ‘negro slaves’ and are part of the ‘tumburah orchestra’.

The word ‘tumburah’ (also: Tanbūr, Tanbura, Tambura or Tanboor) refers to the six-stringed harp-like musical instrument held by the man seated at centre. The instrument is adorned with two fans of feathers and is apparently plucked with the fingers.

Four other men sit or crouch, holding various drums between their knees. To the right of the man at centre a man stands, wearing a form of girdle, which is perhaps decorated with sheep’s hooves as described in the 1931 translation of Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje’s Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century: Daily Life, Customs and Learning (pp. 11–12).

Although the drawing may have been taken from a photograph, the illustrator has portrayed the faces of the men in a way that makes evident certain nineteenth century racial preconceptions and ideologies.


Printed above image, in ink:


Printed beneath image, in ink:

‘Negersklaven mit dem Ṯúmburah-orchester.’

Extent and format
1 print
Physical characteristics


214 x 264 mm


1 print


The print is in good condition.



Written in
German in Latin script
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'Negersklaven mit dem Ṯúmburah-orchester'. Photographer: Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje [‎20r] (1/1), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, 1781.b.6/33, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 October 2019]

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