Zenana– def. The place where the ladies reside. Origin: Urdu.
Yesterday I posted this cabinet card image found on Tumblr and asked for help in identifying the style. Crowd-sourcing research on the blog certainly works. “KB” responded with enough key words that a quick image search revealed the nature of this carriage. Often called a Zenana Carriage, this one is extremely well-decorated and may be going to a wedding. The practice is from the Urdu-speaking Hindustani but can be applied in several ways. This appears to be from British Raj period of India (the good ol’ days to the Brits but the Indians may beg to differ on this).
Really, I’m just in it for the vehicles.
The term seems to be applied rather broadly from sedan chairs to carts and wagons of various quality. The key being a covered transport for the modesty of the lady enclosed.
It’s more of a concept than a carriage, except among the wealthy. Zenana carriages for royals may even be made in silver and gold. It reminds me of the old pilgrim woman in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. She was so old and beyond modesty, she would often even ride with the curtain partially open.
I suspect some of the design elements were influenced by British carriage building but overall, this is very much a regional phenomenon. Perhaps there are some motifs and textures found in this genre to spice up a modern caravan.
And finally, an interesting little cart I found while combing images in the wee hours.