The vina is undoubtedly of high antiquity. It has seven wire strings, and movable frets which are generally fastened with wax. Two hollowed gourds, often tastefully ornamented, are affixed to it for the purpose of increasing the sonorousness. There are several kinds of the vina in different districts; but that represented in the illustration is regarded as the oldest. The performer shown is Jeewan Shah, a celebrated virtuoso on the vina, who lived about a hundred years ago. The Hindus divided their musical scale into several intervals smaller than our modern semitones. They adopted twenty-two intervals called sruti in the compass of an octave, which may therefore be compared to our chromatic intervals. As the frets of the vina are movable the performer can easily regulate them according to the scale, or mode, which he requires for his music.
The Nautch Girls are the singing and dancing girls of the East. They are gorgeously attired in robes of embroidered silk and muslin, and covered with jewels. They attend the public and private festivals and entertain the company bu their soft and voluptuous songs, and graceful attitudes.
The dances of the Nautch Girls consist in sudden transitions. The movement is sometimes slow and graceful; then by a change of the music it becomes all life, and exhibits the most rapid succession of violent actions, the performers twirling round with the velocity of a spinning top, and for such a length of time that it almost makes a person giddy to look at them.
The Nautch girl in the picture was considered one of the most celebrated singers in Bengal. Her voice was extremely sweet, but sung in so low a tone, that it would have been impossible to hear a note unless within a few yards of her; but a powerful voice is not esteemed an excellence in an Indian singer.
Each Nautch Girl is attended by her own musicians, who form themselves in a circle behind her, accompanying her voice with their instruments.
Comparative Maps of Asia
(a) as part of hemisphere
(b) on Mercators projection to show relative sizes of Asiatic Russia and India in the two cases.
Chief Foreign Settlements in India, 17th Century
One of the largest cannon now existing is a brass one at Bejapoor, called “Moolik-i-Meidan,” or “The Lord of the Plain.” It was cast in commemoration of the capture of that place by the Emperor Alum Geer, in 1685. Its length is 14ft. 1in., diameter about 5ft. 8in., diameter of bore, 2ft. 4in., interior length of bore, 10ft.; length of chamber unknown; shape of gun nearly “cylindrical;” description of shot, stone. An iron shot for this gun, of proper size, would weigh 1600lbs. It is now lying in a dilapidated circular bastion on the left of the principal gateway of the city. The trunnions are broken off, and there is a ring on each side of it, as well as two Persian inscriptions on the top. It is placed on three heavy beams of wood, packed round with large stones. A number of stone shot, of 2ft. 2in. in diameter, are scattered about. This gun is said to be the heaviest piece of ordnance in the world. It weighs about forty-two tons.