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, with the finest painters from India, Austria and Japan getting involved.
Paper Jewels is the story of postcards during the Raj, and covers India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma. It is the first book on the subject and contains some of the most beautiful and popular postcards telling the stories of the first postcard publishers between 1892 and 1947. The essays cover the major cities and regions important to postcard publishing and key themes- from dancers to religion, to tea, soap, famines, fakirs, humour and warfare.
The volume uncovers such gems as the early postcards of the great Indian painter M V Dhurandhar and the Ravi Varma Press, the exceptional work of an early Austrian lithographer in Kolkata to a German one in Mumbai. Many of the images in the book have never been published since their first runs a century ago.
About the author
Omar Khan grew up in Vienna, Austria and Islamabad, Pakistan. Khan has researched early photography throughout the subcontinent and is the author of From Kashmir to Kabul: The Photographs of John Burke and William Baker 1860–1900 (Mapin). He works as a software executive in San Francisco.