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Everyday Art



Concealing and Revealing
India (Rajasthan)<br><i>Maternal veil (pido)</i>, first quarter 20th century<br>Cotton; tie-dye<br>Minneapolis Institute of Arts<br>Gift of Richard L. Simmons in memory of Roberta Grodberg Simmons
  India (Rajasthan)
Maternal veil (pido), first quarter 20th century
Cotton; tie-dye
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Gift of Richard L. Simmons in memory of Roberta Grodberg Simmons

 

Women around the world throughout history have worn veils and head coverings for various reasons. In some cultures, veils are worn only for certain occasions, whereas in others, head coverings make up part of a woman’s everyday clothing.

In India, traditional everyday attire for women includes colorful fabric veils. Although worn for modesty and privacy, these head coverings may reveal information about the wearer. A veil’s color, pattern, material, and workmanship might show what region of the country the woman is from, which village she lives in, her social status, and whether she is married. Head coverings may also include symbols for the season of the year or an important social occasion.

For a special occasion, a woman would choose the right veil from her wardrobe. This head covering from India’s Rajasthan region is for the mother of a newborn son. Its yellow color announces the birth of a boy. Ten small lotus-blossom decorations stand for the nine months of pregnancy and the child’s birth month. A single large lotus in the center of the veil symbolizes the creation of a new life.


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1. Lotus blossoms symbolize the birth of a child.
2. The large white design in the center of this veil identifies the wearer’s community.
India (Gujarat). Woman’s festival veil (odhani), first quarter 20th century. Silk, metallic threads, sequins; tie-dye, embroidery. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, gift of Robert and Carolyn Nelson
3. A woman would have worn this patterned veil on her wedding day.
India (Rajasthan). Woman’s wedding veil (odhani), late 19th-early 20th century. Wool, cotton; embroidery. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, gift of Richard L. Simmons in memory of Roberta Grodberg Simmons

 

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September 2008