A special turban owned by the British Museum provided the focal-point as an exhibition celebrating Sikhism was officially opened in Bradford.

The Earl of Harewood welcomed about 100 people to Cartwright Hall art gallery yesterday as the Sikh Fortress Turban exhibition got under way.

The exhibition explains the importance of the turban to the Sikh faith and includes the conical Fortress Turban alongside items from Bradford Museums and Galleries’ collections and the city’s Sikh community.

“I was very honoured to be asked to come and open this exhibition,” said the Earl, who also spoke of the “richness of Sikh culture. “I am delighted to be here.”

The Fortress Turban, which features various weapons, was worn by a group of skilled warrior Sikhs called Akali Nihangs, to protect their head and hair from sword blows.

It has been brought to Bradford as part of the British Museum’s Spotlight Tour, and has been in its collection since the early 20th century. Mohinder Singh Chana, a trustee of Bradford Museums and Galleries, said: “It gives us great pleasure to come to Cartwright Hall and be able to be involved in an exhibition here.”

Jill Maggs, head of loans at the British Museum, said: “The Spotlight Tour is about shining a light on the object itself, and also the collections of the host venue.”

The exhibition will run at the gallery until May 18.