SAs 00307

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

A pair of water containers

Asia, India, Andaman and Nicobar, Nicobar

Prior to 1901


Edward Horace Man (administrator, anthropologist)

Donation to the museum by Man in 1901

SAs 00307

In the 19th century, up to twenty of these water vessels were carried by one man on a carrying pole, ten in front and ten in back. They were used to store drinking and cooking water. The women of the village were responsible for making them. The coconuts were polished with oil or lard and blackened with soot. A cord made of intricately woven rattan connected each pair. They were hung from a bamboo pole attached under the roof inside the house. E. H. Man, who as an official of the British colonial administration in the 19th century, amassed collections for European museums and recorded his experiences in books and articles, and delivered this object to the museum.

Until the 19th century, the economy of the people of the Nicobar Islands was based mainly on horticulture as well as pig breeding and fishing. The island chain joins the Andaman Islands in the south and, today, both from the Indian Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. For centuries, the Nicobar Islands were involved in international trade. The Nicobarese not only supplied passing ships with drinking water and coconuts but also with trepang and tortoiseshell. European powers had failed numerous colonization attempts until the British gained the upper hand after 1858 and formally took possession of the islands. In 2004, a tsunami destroyed many of the small islands.

Carola Krebs