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

Art in Gold for a Goan Wedding

I cannot imagine how it is that the Goan found the time between cultivating their unbelievable rice, cooking and eating their amazing curries and enjoying the subsequent coma-like siestas that these foods induce – to turn their attention to creating any art!

But they did.

And so we have some brilliant architecture related art and some other unique forms of material culture.

Here I present the Goan Wedding Chain – a type that was once patronised by every Goan Christian family and was common enough in the 1800s to warrant a special name for this type of chain.

The format is the same across – but sizes differ.

Three large pieces of Malachite bound in filigree casing form the main elements.

The central piece usually has a dove on one side. On this one we see initials on one side and the year of the wedding on the other.

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In the past 20 years of being in Goa I have never seen such a piece on the person of any Goan …. but am certain many pieces can be found within the family vaults of Goa.

Among Christians it is the ring that is the preferred jewelry for wedding tokens. But here in Goa, this wedding chain may be one of the many of the pre-conversion rituals lingered on even after conversion to Christianity by the Portugese.

In fact this lingering annoyed Francis Xavier sufficiently to initiate a religious inquisition that left many convertees dead!

But all that is history now and Francis Xavier is now Saint Francis Xavier.

And the art legacy of those times may be used as a tool to observe a cultural history that we must learn from and need to rise above.

jaina mishra | wovensouls

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