Beginning around 1920, the tradition of lavishly decorating vehicles, from rickshaws to garbage trucks, began in Pakistan. University of Karachi professor and artist Durriya Kazi believes that the tradition can be traced to Sufism. Decorating the trucks may be a way to obtain “religious merit,” as one would by embellishing a shrine or religiously significant site.
Decorating a vehicle pays tribute to it. In the process, the spiritual significance of the truck is transformed, and it will reward the owner or driver by not breaking down.
I’m assuming the same idea is at work with the decoration of the horse. As a lameness prevention technique, I can’t necessarily endorse it. But I have to say that I love the exuberance and spirit of this horse and the vehicle it adorns. I wonder if Ken Kesey’s “Further”…
was inspired by a Jingle Truck: