durbandirndl: The African princess and the urban turban In 1924…


The African princess and the urban turban

In 1924 an expedition sponsored by French car maker Citroen crossed the Sahara off to Madagaskar. The Croisière Noire became the subject of a feature-length film including original music and African songs arranged for orchestra. It was the subject of numerous journal articles, one major book, and an art exhibition. Artifacts collected during the expedition were displayed in ethnographic and zoological museum and exhibitions. The most iconic and influential picture was that of Nobosodrou, who was the wife of the Mangbetu King Touba. The image of the long-headed Mangbetu woman was virtually a logo for Belgian colonialism, feature in images at the 1931 and 1937 French expositions and on postcards, posters, guidebooks, and in art galleries.  Nobosodrous image was simultaneously exotic, erotic, and easily aestheticized. To imitate her elegance fashion designers started a turban craze which lasted for the next decades.  

History. Ahem.

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