Head ring

The practice of carrying heavy objects on the head is widespread. In India, Banjara women use head rings to transport vessels of water from wells to their homes. The ring helps position and balance the pot, while the decorative flap shades the neck from the sun. Vibrant colours, mirrors and shells create a kaleidoscope of pattern.


Collection Connections 

  • Head Ring

    Head Ring

    Asia: South Asia, India, Northern India, Rajasthan

    View More 
  • Head Ring

    Head Ring

    Asia: South Asia, India, Southern India, Karnataka

    View More 
  • Bag

    Bag

    Asia: South Asia, India, Southern India, Karnataka

    View More 
  • Head Ring

    Head Ring

    Asia: South Asia, India, Southern India, Karnataka, Shimoga

    View More 

Have you ever carried an object on your head or seen someone else do so – why do people carry things this way?

responded: Sep 17, 2011

Posted by Nikita Chugh

173
Recommend this Response

Click image to view large photo

  1. Image
In the summer, while I was staying in India I saw many people carry objects on their head. The only people using these head rings were women during daily chores such as carrying groceries, or large copper or clay pots of water. However, they did not use head rings that were anywhere near as embellished as the one depicted. Rings were very simplistic and made of tightly wrapped cotton fabric, which is more economic, more appropriate for a hot climate, and for sweat absorbency. Most commonly, female laborers at construction sites used their head rings to carry heavy materials, mainly piles of brick to the building site to the male construction workers (as demonstrated in the attached image). The use of the head ring is used as it helps to balance the weight on the head, and creates a more sturdy way of carrying such large loads. Items are placed on the head as it can withstand large amounts of weight with minimal impact and less stress induced to the user’s joints. This leads to more endurance and a more efficient way of carrying heavy loads rather by using your arms or your back. Maneuvering vertical weight actually transfers the exertion to the thighs; one of the largest and strongest muscles that can better accept the load.

Elements of this site may require Flash player 8