The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM

Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

Discovering Pearls

Antique Indian Pearl Gold Maang teeka

Antique Maang Teeka

The Pearl is not new to most of us.

I got to know the pearl as a child, watching others wear them and through the many ‘plastic’ pearl chains  acquired cheap to satisfy my grooming instinct. As a child I could not be entrusted with the real thing!  But on Diwali or while attending weddings,  I would be adorned with a small string of real pearls in the family jewel box!

That was the beginning.

Then I grew up.  Life took over and work, children and family fun left me with no mindspace to think of pearls.

And then came the lull in all the roles I was playing in the lives of other people. The days when I was constantly in pursuit of that one ‘extra’ minute, were finally over. And along with that lull, came an unexpected storm: the storm of desire.  For things. Beautiful things.  Things left behind by worlds gone by. Things that have witnessed lives beyond ours. Things that were so beautiful that I forgot about empty nests and such other crises!  Things that filled up my life with intense craving and consumed all my energy.

This is the first of those ‘beautiful things’ that filled up my heart : A Pearl & Gold Nath.

Antique Indian Pearl Gold Nath nose ring

It was my first step in the world of non-silver jewelry and I remember the angst I went through at the jeweller’s tiny shop wondering whether to spend any money on things I would never wear.  The beauty of the Nath had a grip on my heart as I had never seen antique gold jewelry earlier. The few pieces belonging to my great great grandmother had remained out of my vision locked up in some remote bank vault.

So that day in the crowded bazar in an unmapped street of Mumbai, I took my first steps into this wonderful world. After disrupting the work-days of various members of my family to ask their advice, about buying this piece I succumbed and tentatively entered that world.

A world from the past, a world inhabited by women like those in the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma.  Exotic jewels for exotic women. Each deserving the other. Each outshining the other.

Two of the master’s paintings that provide the paradigm and the setting within which to view the jewels:

If only we knew the lives and loves of these women. If only we could hear the stories that these jewels have witnessed!

***

A glimpse of the Nath  collection:

Antique Indian Pearl Gold Nath nose ring

Antique Indian Pearl Gold Nath nose ring

Antique Indian Pearl Gold Nath nose ring

Three Dimensional beauty – see below

Antique Indian Pearl Gold Nath nose ring

Antique Indian Pearl Gold Nath nose ring

Bird Nath

SIGNIFICANCE

As I am finding out so late in life, almost everything in Indian culture holds a deeper meaning.

The Nath is one of the important bridal ornaments and taking the Nath off symbolises the loss of virginity on the nuptial night. This symbolism of the Nath is a part of a whole set of other covert symbolisms including the Maang – or the parting of the hair. On the day of the wedding the groom fills the parting with red powder called sindoor and this once again symbolises the phyical consummation of the marriage.Thereafter a married woman proudly wears the Sindoor every day as a declaration of her marital status and conversely, if widowed this privilege is denied to her.  (These customs prevail in certain parts of India not all – India is too diverse for all customs to have been adopted everywhere!)

(The Maang teeka – the first picture is to be worn above the forehead and suspended from the crown of the head.)

Even though all of these are portrayed sensuously and romantically without any trace of vulgarity, I am glad that I learnt these embedded meanings only after reaching the age and stage when nothing embarrasses me.  Otherwise it would have been hard not to blush at the insinuations of erotica in these basic things being used daily.

Another article to follow soon on the subject of the pearl ornaments of the Noblewomen of Tibet.

All the jewelry pieces are mid to late century pieces and are a part of the WOVENSOULS collection

jm

July 2013

6 comments on “Discovering Pearls

  1. Pingback: INDEX | Articles on Art | Wovensouls Journal

  2. Anonymous
    May 4, 2015

    i want buy your pearls jewelry…its possible?

  3. wovensouls
    May 4, 2015

    Yes – please visit http://wovensouls.com

  4. Monica
    February 26, 2017

    It’s wonderful I want dis how can I contact I???

  5. Adithi
    March 8, 2017

    Can you tell us the place where we can still buy these stuff with original pearls?

  6. wovensouls
    March 9, 2017

    Ask your regular jeweler – they usually can get some for you if you specifically ask for old jewelry

I'd love to hear your view on this. Please comment below:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,078 other followers

ARCHIVES

TRANSLATE

EMAIL

jaina@wovensouls.com

ABOUT ME

%d bloggers like this: