A girl plays with the severed legs of an animal with hooves. Another plays on a rock, dreaming, with her feet dangling in the river. A third girl, topless, perches on a wooden stool in a room wearing a necklace made of dried fish skeletons…

Mädchenland, which means “Kingdom of girls”, is a photographic series developed by the German photographer Karolin Kuppel during his nine-month stay with the Khasi, a matriarchal people in the state of Meghalaya in northeastern India. It’s the home of about 500 people, the indigenous peoples of the Khasi ethnic group, who form the majority of the population.

There, girls traditionally have a particular importance and play a primordial role in the family and social system. The family possessions are always inherited by the youngest daughter, and if she marries, her husband must move into the home of the women and the children take the name of their mother.

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India
The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India
The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India
The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India
The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India
The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India
The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).

The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India
The Kingdom of Girls, Photographs of Karolin Kuppel in India (Reference image).