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Journal of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists

Journal of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists

Abstract

Artifacts and fine industries flourished in the era of Mughal- Indian emperors, as shown in Turban boxes that were known as juaba distar; a Persian phrase for boxes used to keep turbans. The Mughals, including emperors or princes, paid great attention to turban boxes because of the importance of the turban itself that reflected the position of its user, especially at the time of Babur. At the time of Hamayun , the turban was used to climb high places by connecting its parts. The turban was decorated with jewelry and gemstones more than ever, especially at the time of Jahangir. The feather and stick on which the jewel was fixed were made of gold. Therefore, small boxes with the same design as the turban boxes were introduced. The boxes generally comprised two parts: The body and the cover. There were several artistic styles, such as the box of a circular body and a semi-spherical dome, and the style of a circular body and onion-like dome. The third style comprised a small base, a wider upper part, and a convex dome. The fourth style was a circular decagon body and a polygon dome, whereas the fifth style had an octagonal body. The small boxes with the same design were almost used for keeping the turban's accessories, including the diamond and the golden stick. The dimensions of the box were suitable for the function of keeping the turban, and the cover ensured protection. Wood and papier-mâché were used for manufacturing the boxes, but they were treated with a lacquer to have isolated surfaces in order not to harm the turban and the accessories. The decorations implemented on the boxes reflected the culture of Northern India, especially Kashmir. Thus, these decorations included the deities of Hanoman, Kreshna, and Janetha, as well as animals, e.g., horses, foxes, and elephants. The paintings of the mythical beings representing the Indian environment, e.g., dragons, angels, and goblins resembled those of the manuscripts of Kashmir school at the time. Additionally, the paintings of men and women expressed strongly the Indian environment in terms of customs, facial features, or some characteristics of the paintings of Kashmir school, including the lock of hair hanging behind the ear. The floral motifs stressed the impact of the local environment, including flowers and trees in Northern India, such as Tulips and cypress trees. The general design of the distribution of decorations on the box achieved a balance between the body and the cover. The design of the boxes was affected largely in the buildings of India, including Indian and onion-like domes.
In the Mughal Indian era (932-1273A.H/1526-1857A.D), applied arts were the most important industry because it received due attention from the Mughal emperors and princes and Muslim princes in different regions. Therefore, several applied arts, including turban boxes appeared. The interest of Mughals in headgears, in general, and turbans, in particular, is an important issue in their culture. However, these boxes were not familiar with the previous cultures and arts. Turban boxes were used for the high material and moral value of the turbans and the precious gems they contain.

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