Kunchi (Infant’s Cap)

Mid 20th century CE

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

A variety of child caps can be seen across India. Such caps are used to give protection to the child from the sun, wind and cold. They are made according to the climate and choice of the people. These caps are locally known as kunchi, kantop, masho etc. The kunchi comes under the heirloom textile which is used from generation to generation in a Maharashtrian family at the time of the naming ceremony of the child. The tradition is on the verge of extinction.

This Kunchi was stitched by Indu Nene for her son in 1962 for his naming ceremony. It was also worn to her grandson in 1993 at the time of his naming ceremony. She gifted it the museum in 2013. The family heirloom textiles gifted by her also includes baby bedspreads and textiles used for religious ceremonies in her family.

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  • Title: Kunchi (Infant’s Cap)
  • Date Created: Mid 20th century CE
  • Location: India
  • Provenance: Gift of Indu P. Nene
  • Type: Cap
  • Medium: Silk
  • Region: Maharashtra
  • History of Style of Technique: The birth of a child brings great joy as it ensures the growth of the family tree. His arrival in civilised society is marked with a gift of a soft mulmul zabla. According to Indian tradition, it is considered inauspicious to buy any new clothes for the new born. In fact at first the baby is made to wear old clothes of a child from the family. The used clothing is soft for the tender baby skin and it is believed that through these clothes the positive family vibes and values would pass onto the baby. The arrival of a baby is remembered by its tiny clothes; a marriage ceremony by the carefully wrapped up wedding attire; parents are remembered through the garments they pass on to their children. This is perhaps one of the reasons why we treasure heirlooms. The tiny dresses worn by our children hold sweet memories. Treasured more than any expensive garment, they are a strong symbol of love. Earlier, they were stitched and embellished by mothers, aunts, and grandmothers for the child but today the trend of such home-stitched garments is on the decline, being replaced by the variety of readymade clothing available in the market.
  • Creator: Indu Nene
  • Accession Number: 2013.4