[WORLDKINGS] Traditional clothing from around the world – P59 - Turban: A historical story of more than 4000 years of religious symbols of the Middle East countries


(WorldKings.org) The turban, named Dulband in Persian and brought to France where it was finally named turban, was always a headwear which originated from communities with prominent turban-wearing traditions in the Indian Subcontinent, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East.

Little is conclusively known of the origins of the turban. The earliest evidence of a turban-like garment is from Mesopotamia in a royal sculpture dating from 2350 B.C.E. Thus, it is known that the turban was in use before the advent of Islam and Christianity, therefore the origin of the turban cannot be ascribed to religious reasons alone.



It is also mentioned in the Old Testament and Vedic literature from India. Sculpture from Central India (100 B.C.E.) provides detailed visual evidence of the use of turbans. These headdresses were originally worn by royalty and spiritual leaders and used to commute power, often being adorned with jewels and accessories to display wealth and grandeur.

The turban as a headdress is not merely a fashion statement or cultural paraphernalia; it has symbolic meaning beyond the obvious. It serves to identify the wearer as a member of a particular group, tribe, or community, and serves as an introduction to their cultural, religious, political, and social orientations. Sikh men commonly wear a peaked turban, that serves partly as a covering for their hair, which is never cut out of respect for God's creation.



The turban has significant associations with the concepts of respect and honor. A man's turban is supposed to signify his honor and the honor of his people. The exchange of turbans is considered a sign of everlasting friendship, while presenting someone with a turban is considered a great token of esteem. An exchange of turbans also signifies a long relationship and forges relationships between families. Thus, the turban is an intrinsic part of all ceremonies from birth until death.

Conversely, it is considered a grave insult to step over or pick up another man's turban. It is linked intrinsically to the "ego" of a person. To remove a turban and lay it at another's feet symbolizes submission and an expression of humbleness.



The colors of turbans vary in different cultures and are imbued with complex connotations, emotional context, and rich association. They are used to convey mood, religious values, customs, and ceremonial occasions. In India, ocher is the color of the saint, saffron denotes chivalry, and prosperity. White turbans, considered by some Muslims to be the holiest color, are used for mourning and by older men, whereas dark blue is reserved for a condolence visit.



In the Middle East, green turbans, thought to be the color of paradise, are worn by men who claim descent from the prophet Muhammad. Shape and size of the turban are determined by many conditions. Chief among these are the climate, status, and occupation of a person. Turbans are big and loose without hanging tails in the hot desert and thus serve a protective function. Merchants involved in more sedentary activities would wear ornamental turbans with long hanging tails.

According to fashion-history.lovetoknow and encyclopedia

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