Who decided what to adorn

Each culture chooses to adorn different parts of the body.  Some are unique to India. Like these gold anklets decorated to the nth degree. The septum nose rings called bullukku, found in very few cultures. Jewels for different parts of the ear known as koppu or kunukku. We have [...]

Growing your Ears to Dangle a Snake

When a young girl came of age, the story goes, the jeweller would visit her home to pierce her ears. He would then insert soft hay into it to make sure that the hole didn't close. A few days later he would visit to "tear" the hole just a bit more.  Insert more [...]

Parts of an Intricate Wedding Necklace

Portraits of people and places: Jeweller Srinivasan. Karaikudi's pace is languid: a comforting counterpoint to the frenetic pace of Tamilnadu's capital city, Chennai. Old women still walk the streets with baskets on their heads, selling bananas, carrots and strings of jasmine flowers. Regional local fruits like the nungu are loved. [...]

Makara Across Cultures

It first appears in a seal in the Indus Valley-- a fearsome sea creature that overturns ships going on ocean voyages. Every subsequent text, ranging from the Puranas to the Jatakas talk about the gruesome makara that kills voyaging sailors. No wonder early Indians developed a distaste for ocean crossings and forbade [...]

Snake Worship Through the Ages

Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala. These are the seven underground worlds occupied by the snake gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology. These are dreamy worlds, with swaying serpents who have gems on their heads, the light from which illumines their surroundings.  There is no pain, just [...]

Snakes and the Human Imagination

Serpent motifs permeate jewellery.  But the human obsession with serpents goes way back In Egypt, snakes symbolized royalty.  As far back as 2500 B.C., the burial mounds in Egypt had solid gold bracelets made using the snake motif.  When the Buddha was in a state of blissful enlightenment, the [...]

What is the Tamil Aesthetic?

Jewellery is part of an Tamil woman's identity.  Women generally wear bangles, nose rings, mangal-sutra, chains, anklets and toe rings, as dancer Urmila says in this post here. Bless you, my heart. The shell bangles slip from my wasting hands. My eyes, sleepless for days, are muddied. Kurunthogai poetry Her waist is [...]

By |2019-09-30T22:36:46+05:30July 9th, 2019|Categories: Motifs, Tamilnadu|Tags: , , , , , , |13 Comments

Rooted in Festivals, Myth and Verse

Imagine if you are an ancient jewellery designer.  Like all creative folks, you take inspiration from nature– from things that surround you.  You live close to land and water so you draw from flowers, fruits, trees, birds, animals and sea animals. The question is: which flora or fauna do you pick? For all kinds [...]

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