Allen Francis Gardiner, 1794-1851
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“Dingarn in His Ordinary & Dancing Dresses”

Dingarn [king of the Zulu] was habited in a blue dungaree cloak relieved by a white border and devices at the back; the train swept the ground, and, although tarnished and worn, well became his height and portly figure. . . . Having but once before seen Dingarn without his cloak, it was with the greatest difficulty that I could refrain from laughing outright. Of all the grotesque figures, either in print or in propriâ personâ, his equal I never saw, though he bore the nearest resemblance to Falstaff of any I could recollect. Tall, corpulent, and fleshy, with a short neck, and a heavy foot, he was decked out as a harlequin, and, carried away by the excitement of the moment, seemed almost prepared to become one. [pp. 31, 57]


“Dancing Dress of King’s Women / A Zoolu Woman of Rank”

They proved to be no other than the King’s women, about ninety in number, decorated as they usually are previous to the army taking the field. Their faces were veiled with pendants of beads, with which also the petticoat was covered, forming an elegant checkered pattern, while their throats and arms were adorned with large brass rings. Some wore short coats also covered with different-coloured beads, and all two strange head feathers, which gave them a very uncouth appearance. [p. 39]

“Interior of Dingarn’s House”

This afternoon Dingarn signified his wish to see me, and for the first time received me into his house: where I found him reclining near the door upon a mat, supported by a head-stool and surrounded by about fifty of his women, arranged in order round the sides of the hut. This home, as may be supposed by the number of its inmates, who only occupied the circumference, is of considerable size, and was of sufficient height to stand erect even with a hat on in almost every part; but being only lighted from the low door, and the whole interior blackened by smoke, it had a most dismal and dungeon-like appearance on first entering. . . . The frame-work was supported by three parallel rows of posts, four in the middle, and three on each side. The fire-place, as is usual in all their homes, is situated about one-third of the whole diameter from the door, to which it is exactly opposite, and exhibits, for a Zoolu device, a considerable degree of taste, the raised sides being waved in the form shown in the Plate. . . . The floor is remarkably even, and from being constantly rubbed and greased has quite a polished appearance. Scarcely anything that would come under the denomination of furniture was to be seen. [pp. 200-201

“View of Unkãnginglove” [Dingarn’s chief town and residence]

I shall now proceed at once to my first view of Unkãnginglove on the afternoon of the 10th [February 1835]. This was obtained from a rocky hill, covered with aloes and mimosas, intermixed with several large cauliflower-shaped euphorbia trees, growing to the height of sixty or seventy feet. . . . I dismounted under a wooden knoll, whence the circular fence of the town appeared like a distant race-course on the left, while a range of rugged mountains, one remarkably table-topped, rising towards the north, hemmed in the prospect on the opposite side. [p. 28]

“Congella” [another major Zulu town]

At a little before one we obtained our first view of Congella, the tops of the huts just appearing above the circular fence which covered the slope of an opposite hill. [p. 120]

“Amatembu Man & Woman / Zoolus in Their War Dress”

The war-dress consists of a thick, full kilt, composed of cats’ tails, descending nearly to the knee, the shoulders and upper part of the body are decorated with the long hair of ox tails, and the head is protected by an otter skin cap; the whole has a very martial appearance. . . . The shield is made of ox hide, with a stick secured down the middle, and ornamented at one end with leopard’s fur, it reaches from the ground to about the mouth of a moderate sized person; in windy and in wet weather they are almost useless, and, in the latter case, are frequently rolled up when on a march. [pp. 101, 103]