“Dressed to the Nines: Oriental Feudalism and the Outward Appearance of Subordination”

Kayla Reddecliff


Extravagantly rich and exotic come to mind when thinking of the bygone world of Indian royalty, yet almost all of the 565 princely states abruptly and peacefully came to an end in 1947. In fact, the dazzling princely dress had come to represent subordination to the Queen of Britain. Because Indian rulers were unable to perform the princely duties of defending their state under colonial rule, Indian royalty directed their excess resources to the consumption of luxury goods. These goods, most notably represented in their dress, came to symbolize the ruling class’s increasing incompetence in the governing of their states.

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