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Every month different departments display objects from their reserve collections in the showcase at the entrance to the Museum
Silk, zari, leather
Lucknow, U.P., 19thcentury
Size: Cir. 57; Ht. 13 cm.
Acc. no: 63. 401
The topi is a stitched headgear, much like a cap, that became fashionable among the South Asian men from around the middle of the 19th century, although it has a long history. The practice of covering one's head by folding or wrapping rectangular pieces of cloth has existed since ancient times. A turban is often considered essential to a man's ensemble, in many South Asian communities, either for religious, ceremonial, aesthetic or even practical reasons. Surviving literature, paintings, and sculptures are among the sources that throw light upon various fabrics, and tying styles that made a turban.
This doopali cap has two layered pieces joined together from a round center piece that covers the head. The sides are embroidered with a floral pattern while top depicts big floral boteh. The silver zari (metallic thread) in chain stitch and jali (lattice) work, in floral patterns, are indicative of royalty. The distinct embroidery and the cool color palette suggest that this piecemay have been used in a provincial court in Northern India perhaps Awadh, during 19th century, possibly for ceremonial purposes. A topi, such as this one, is often seen as a non-verbal way by which a user can communicate their community, caste, or religion.