Of the Indian manufactures, the most remarkable is that of cotton cloth, the beauty and delicacy of which was so long admired, and which in fineness of texture has never yet been approached in any other country. Their silk manufactures were also excellent, and were probably known to them, as well as the art of obtaining the material, at a very early period551. Gold and silver brocade were also favourite, and perhaps original, manufactures of India.
The brilliancy and permanency of many of their dyes have not yet been equalled in Europe.
Their taste for minute ornament fitted them to excel in goldsmiths’ work.
Their fame for jewels originated more in the bounty of nature than in their own skill; for their taste is so bad that they give a preference to yellow pearls, and table diamonds; and their setting is comparatively rude, though they often combine their jewellery into very gorgeous ornaments.
Their way of working at all trades is very simple, and their tools few and portable. A smith brings
his small anvil, and the peculiar sort of bellows which he uses, to the house where he is wanted: A carpenter, of course, does so with more ease, working on the floor, and securing any object with his toes as easily as with his hands.
551. Mr. Colebrooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 61.
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage