For Rajasthanis, the turban is a symbol of caste, occupation and geographical placement. More than that, those fluent in ‘turban language’ can decipher other meanings; black is worn in the event of a death, pink for a wedding. Surrender is communicated by the laying of one’s turban at another’s feet. After a father’s death, a turban is wound onto the head of the eldest son, signifying his new responsibilities as head of the family. These complex signals are weaved seamlessly into everyday Rajasthani culture. However, the turban culture in Rajasthan is declining sharply. In a place where an un-turbaned man would once have elicited shock and humiliation, globalisation has meant that only villagers and workers for whom it is compulsory wear everyday turbans.
This body of work documents the intricate creation of the turban sculpture; the turban’s place
within the textile and retail industries; and within contemporary Rajasthani culture.
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