In my recent visit to the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, I found this beautiful porcelain couple labaled ‘Pair of Malabars’. They did not look anything to the Malabaris that I had known, and was greatly amused to find that this was what the 18th century Europeans thought ‘Malabars’ looked like. It is interesting to discover the fantastical ideas we form of other peoples, though no longer do we go so wrong, but we still have a cliché image of people from different countries.
The correct word for the caption in the museum would be ‘Pair of Malabaris’ as Malabar is the region, now known as Kerala, and Malabari are the people who were living there. Though according to the ‘Urban Dicionary’ it is now a derogatory word for people from Kerala, need to ask my friends from Kerala if it is true, and below is a picture for your reference to what they look like if you have never been to Kerala.