Imagine wearing this into battle? The Sikh Warrior Turban, or Dastaar Boonga (turban fortress), is still worn by a group known as the Akali-Nihang whose army once existed to defend Sikhism against the Mughal Empire. While most of the decorations are ornamental, the six quoits, or horse-shoe shaped metal rings that climb up the turban, would have been used as weapons. The turban itself would have been elaborately woven with the cloth intertwining with the warrior's own uncut hair to serve as protection in battle.
This example, freshly wound by Akali experts from 37 meters of blue cotton, is decorated with 19th century metal ornaments and weapons from the British Museum collection. It goes on a tour of UK museums beginning in January 2013. If you're visiting, you'll be able to see the Dastar Boonga and learn more about it at:
- The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from January 26 to April 28, 2013
- The Tower Museum, Derry, Northern Ireland, from May 3 to July 28, 2013
- Coventry from August 24 to November 17, 2013
- Cartwright Hall in Bradford from February 22 to May 18, 2014
- The New Walk Museum in Leicester from May 24 to August 17, 2014
- The Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens from August 23 to November 16, 2014
It's all part of the successful Spotlight Tours, supported by the Art Fund Prize, that take interesting objects from the British Museum all over the country. The process of creating this exhibit was fascinating as well. Stop by again to see what other British Museum treasures may be appearing at venue near you sometime soon.
© Trustees of the British Museum