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

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  • Head Ring

    Head Ring

    Asia: South Asia, India, Southern India, Karnataka

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  • Bag

    Bag

    Asia: South Asia, India, Southern India, Karnataka

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  • Head Ring

    Head Ring

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

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

responded: Jan 29, 2012

Posted by Leslie Schumacher

138
Recommend this Response
Although I have never carried an object on my head for practical reasons as a child my cousins and I would carry small objects on our heads to imitate dolls we had which depicted women carrying water. For fun we would carry small dishes and bowls of water around but unfortunately we did not have head rings so when the water fell we would end up soaked. In addition to the dolls that I had as a child, I have seen many images in publications such as National Geographic that show people using head rings to carry either water or other goods. I think that there are many reasons for carrying objects this way. Carrying heavy objects on your head would distribute the weight evenly throughout the body so that there is not stress in a certain area, for example when carrying heavy objects in your hands they begin to get sore after a while and can also cause back pain from the constant strain. It is also very practical because in India women would have to walk very far distances to get water and it would be the easiest way to carry the water without straining other body parts and without having to take breaks during the journey. Another benefit of carrying things on your head is that it frees up your hands. This would be valuable for women in case they need to carry children or possibly sell goods.

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