Sculptor: Friedrich Elias Meyer
Year of creation: 1750-1755
Height: 32 cm
Only very little was known about such people like the Malabar in the 18th century. They were mentioned in only a few guidebooks of that time. Some theories suggest that the name of this nation comes from the Malayam word ‘mala’ meaning ‘hill’ and the Persian ‘bar’ meaning ‘kingdom’. (Malayam is one of the languages spoken in southwestern India.) A special feature of the Malabar people living on the Malabar coast, historically the southwestern area of the Indian subcontinent, was their extraordinary musicality. They wore cages with singing birds, Malabar larks and finches on their backs, which accompanied the Malabars in their singing. They walked on the streets and charmed passers-by with their skills. The sculptors at the Meissen manufactory depicted Malabar musicians singing and playing musical instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy and guitar. The bright colors of the national dresses with the typical straw hats and fur garments are well expressed in these figurines.
The Malabar coast was the first district in India to undergo colonization by Europeans (Dutch, English and French). Numerous cities at the Malabar Coast became centers of trade across the Indian Ocean.
The Malabar Indians still exist in today’s world. They live on the island of Reunion, which is bordered by the Indian Ocean and is located near the island of Madagascar. As early as the 16th century, Europeans began to bring in Malabar slaves from the southwestern part of India. The island is a French possession. Malabar Indians communicate in a local French dialect and their religion is Catholicism.
It is noteworthy that already in 1746 Johann Friedrich Eberlein created the first version of the Malabar couple.
These were figures of a Malabar hunter and woman with two baskets on bronze pedestals. On 16 December 1750 Madame Pompadour acquired them directly from the sculptor for her collection for the price of 600 pounds.
You can acquire the Malabar musician couple of Friedrich Elias Meyer in our webstore or in our salon boutique in Karlovy Vary: We have the figures in two different sizes: "Malarin" - 32 cm and "Malabarin" - 18,5 cm