The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM

Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery

Memories of Nagaland

The wealth of one’s life is the memories we collect – for only these can travel with us everywhere and be summoned at a moment’s notice to light up our … Continue reading

April 15, 2019 · Leave a comment

Glimpses of Punjab

A few photos that offer a little cultural flavour of the style Punjab. It was a delight to witness the preservation of ethnic identity in-spite of the tsunami of bland … Continue reading

February 24, 2019 · 3 Comments

Conversations – The Soul of Punjab

A few photos of the grand old women and men who were young at the time of the “hallaa” … the Partition.

Over deep conversations about phulkaris, over chai & pakodas followed by parathas & butter, we bonded – discussing the culture of their youth, of their childhood homes and the culture of the time.

February 21, 2019 · 2 Comments

A Phulkari Fan from the Olden Days

Here’s another cultural remnant of the olden days in Punjab – A ceiling fan decorated with Phulkari work: The rope is used to swing the fan and is held by … Continue reading

February 5, 2019 · 2 Comments

A Charkha Spinning Wheel

Sighting of a decorated Charkha Spinning Wheel – used in a vanishing craft

February 3, 2019 · 1 Comment

Wearing her mother’s Bridal Haalvan Phulkari

A “haalvan” phulkari is done on very fine cotton cloth that is similar to mul mul. This is the first time I held one in my hand! All bridal textiles … Continue reading

January 30, 2019 · 2 Comments

Service or Sacrilege? The Dilemma of Textile Art Fragments

Have you seen these? Amazing creativity isn’t it?!! ❤️ The ones that I have are in good but not in perfect condition – usage, withering natural life of the fibre … Continue reading

October 18, 2018 · Leave a comment

Artwork of the Day

A Peacock takes a little ram for a walk! What an endearing example of folk creativity! Seen in this most-beloved AntiqueQashqai Shekarlu rug that I cannot get enough of! More … Continue reading

October 2, 2018 · Leave a comment

Raincoats of the Fortunate – Bhutan Textiles

Destinies differ between individuals. And between people groups. In the plate of destiny granted to me, raincoats were made of plastic. In the plate of the fortunate, raincoats were works … Continue reading

August 21, 2018 · Leave a comment

A Man and His Dowry

In many parts of North Africa, at the time of the proposal the families discuss the dowry the man is willing to pay to get his bride. The dowry is … Continue reading

August 7, 2018 · Leave a comment

External Article: Italy’s last Sea Silk Master (on BBC)

Byssus, or sea silk, is one of the rarest and most coveted materials in the world – and this is the last person on Earth who still knows how to … Continue reading

July 13, 2018 · Leave a comment

The Rare Art of Double Sided Shia Embroidery

It is said that this art is no longer practiced. I am told they come from the Swat valley neighborhood and since there are not enough such textiles these are … Continue reading

June 11, 2018 · Leave a comment

Artwork of the Day 

Amazing Ethnic Art worn by a very small minority group in Guizhou China.  Asset 228 on WOVENSOULS.COM Enjoy the Visual Feast!  

June 8, 2018 · Leave a comment

Wealth of  Ladakh 

Photos of photo prints of women wearing traditional jewelry at festivals.  The magnificentv Petak headdress has been discussed earlier.  But the  others have not received enough attention!  Here are sone … Continue reading

May 28, 2018 · Leave a comment

Wearing Art – Antique Himalayan Ceremonial Silver Belt

When everything the eye sees is artistic and pleasing, where art is an intrinsic part of every object, there must be undercurrents of joy constantly hitting the people…  Maybe THAT … Continue reading

May 24, 2018 · Leave a comment

Nomadic Weavings of Chanthang

Seen in the Himalayas in the Chanthang desert in Eastern Ladakh.  Their living spaces Let’s gp in … To see their home & their weavings ​(videa to follow later) Volunteers: … Continue reading

May 20, 2018 · Leave a comment

Mountain Art – Large Ancient Himalayan Buddhas – 3

Seen just outside Mulbeg – An engraving on a mountain face that may have been the starting point of a sculpture.  May 2018

May 17, 2018 · Leave a comment

A Visit to Phyang Monastery

Sat still within the ancient halls with only a young monk in attendance. Time passed unmarked by minutes and seconds. What do these matter when the walls have seen centuries!  … Continue reading

May 9, 2018 · Leave a comment

Artwork of the Day: Mirrors of Identity

A pair of Chaakla Decorative Textiles from Gujarat with rare golden mirrors Asset 152 on WOVENSOULS.COM  

April 15, 2018 · Leave a comment

Sentinels & Thresholds 

The threshold is a very important line in a traditional Indian home.  It is washed and decorated beautifully every day with auspicious symbols  drawn in powder by the woman of … Continue reading

February 28, 2018 · 4 Comments

Goa Carnaval 2018

Something to do over the weekend in case you are in Goa!  Delighted to find local culture in the themes of the floats!  Delighted to find people of all ages … Continue reading

February 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

Goan Portugese Houses – Art in Architecture

Classic Goan Portugese Houses are found all over Goan villages. Some are in great condition, others dilapidated. Viewed collectively, they represent an art style that belongs to the late 1800s … Continue reading

February 1, 2018 · 2 Comments

A Kalamkari Coverlet – Antique Indian Textiles

A visit to any museum can be exhausting and the maximum I can handle is about 1 – 2 hours of exposure. In any given hall there are always too … Continue reading

January 23, 2018 · 2 Comments

Bullock Carts & Oil Mills in Applique! 

An endearing naive  2-dimensional rendering of bullock cart & a bullock-run oil press or oil mill! And the featute that makes me wonder about the Banjara connection is the white … Continue reading

December 25, 2017 · 1 Comment

Walking the Dog

And the bird in the cage. Scene in a double sided embroidery from the early 1900s.  But could well have been a snapshot from modern day Singapore!  More photos of … Continue reading

November 12, 2017 · Leave a comment

Hidden Gems – new sightings in old acquisitions! 

In an embroidery rich in texture and motifs and age, it was easy to miss the 5th color used sparingly – it hid within the flowers – almost shy of … Continue reading

September 21, 2017 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix -Sindh Dowry Embroidery

Bless the woman who made this!! A great way to start my day …. with a dose of beauty – gives the heart a small positive kickstart!  Sept 2017

September 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

Who doesn’t enjoy Music in the Park! 

MUSIC IN THE PARK – Notes in Silk!!! Just received this beauty made in Canton a century ago! Am yet to count the number of instruments being played  in this … Continue reading

September 12, 2017 · 2 Comments

Courtship in Silk

Daily Art Fix – motif on an amazing wearable antique cantonese shawl!  ❤️

September 10, 2017 · Leave a comment

More Strength to the Camel’s Back!

Here’s a beauty that will strengthen the proverbial camel’s back ….  With something so gorgeous to call his own,  no last straw will ever have the strength to break his … Continue reading

September 4, 2017 · Leave a comment

Pattua Singing from Bengal

In Bengal, in the olden days, in order to disseminate the holy stories, folk legends adn perhaps even news of major events, Pattua scrolls were used. Women first painted out … Continue reading

August 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

External Article: Caste System

Worth reading “Why is the world so obsessed with India’s caste system” by Sahana Singh    

May 12, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Warli Paintings on Dung

The original idea was to use the cow dung walls of homes as the medium to paint on using white pigment made of rice & gum. Then at some point … Continue reading

May 10, 2016 · 3 Comments

News from the Met Museum

A new exhibition featuring manuscript paintings (and therefore textiles in paintings) and textiles exploring medieval Islamic textiles in the 20th Century titled Transformed: Medieval Syrian and Iranian Art in the … Continue reading

March 17, 2016 · 1 Comment

Daily Art Fix – A Thousand Silent Bells

Heavy Silent Jhanjhar from Maharashtra, Early 1900s The latest addition to the Wovensouls collection Read more about Payal Traditions here. jm Oct 2015.

October 25, 2015 · Leave a comment

Anatolia Diaries

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone Interesting Istanbul 1 Interesting Istanbul 2 A Walk through the Grand Bazar of Istanbul Intrigued by the past – Cappadocia Art … Continue reading

July 25, 2015 · 1 Comment

Dowry Bags & Purses

A link to the Dowry Bags & Purses of Gujarat, India. jm July 2015

July 12, 2015 · Leave a comment

DAILY ART FIX – AN ARTWORK A DAY

An addict constantly needs a fix to keep him stable. Me – in moments of extreme stress I find solace & peace in viewing works of traditional art. In normal … Continue reading

July 7, 2015 · 3 Comments

Daily Art Fix – Kinnaur Weaving

Click to view more images of this recently woven shawl from Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India. Daily Art Fix – Kinnaur Weaving July 2015 textile art, himachal weaving, himachal textile, India … Continue reading

July 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Lore of a Kilim Rug | The Lure of a Kilim Rug

One day a Yürük tribal chief saw a kilim rug cast on the ground by a tent. Looking at it brought anguish to his heart, so he called on his … Continue reading

June 21, 2015 · 1 Comment

Triangles of Passion – A Special Textile

A Bagh textile with a thousand triangles – created with love and passion

March 30, 2015 · Leave a comment

Naga Shells – Nocte Naga Portrait

Portrait of a Nocet Naga girl with traditional costume

March 15, 2015 · Leave a comment

A Glimpse of Stunning Mizo Textiles – The Puanchei

Most are now woven on power looms but a few are still made on back-strap looms.A Glimpse of Stunning Mizo Textiles – The Puanchei The Puanchei: The Puan is the … Continue reading

January 26, 2015 · 4 Comments

DAILY ART FIX – Gujarat Textile Art

Vintage “Chakla / Chaakda” Wall artwork in the form of cotton embroidery. From Gujarat, India. [VTI-719 on the wovensouls website. ] jm Jan 2015

January 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Narakasura Festival, Goa

[A post from 2010 on the occasion of Diwali & Narakasur] Goa. Narakasur. Pre-Diwali. A unique folk festival that I noticed for the first time in 2004  then became more … Continue reading

October 20, 2014 · 7 Comments

Textiles within Textiles

Am studying my Phad (Par) textiles and enjoying the complex scenes painted in. There are two types of Phads: one narrating the legend of Pabuji and the other narrating the … Continue reading

May 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

Hand Looms, Foot Looms and more

Many of the textile enthusiasts that I know, enjoy understanding the technicalities that go into the creation of the art. The loom type, the weave type, the knot structure etc … Continue reading

May 3, 2014 · 6 Comments

A Story in a Nose Ring

Four times I have had my nose pierced. In spite of the fact that it is long & hook shaped and has provided all its viewers with immense mirth – … Continue reading

May 1, 2014 · 2 Comments

Mystical Gold Ornaments from the past

When I look at some  of the ornaments from the past, they leave me awestruck! The art & craft within them is doubtlessly stunning. But beyond that, there is an … Continue reading

November 19, 2013 · 2 Comments

Aryan Diaries

My  first trip to Ladakh in 2011 was an extravagant visual feast of culture.  As a first-time viewer I was dazzled and overwhelmed so much that I could barely differentiate … Continue reading

October 28, 2013 · 4 Comments

Forts in the Konkan Coast, India

A few photos of Konkan Forts: View all the images (in full size) on the parent website WOVENSOULS.COM jm Aug 2013

September 6, 2013 · 1 Comment

Artistic Mughal Architecture

A mini photo-article while I travel. Spellbinding Mughal Art View all the images (in full size) on the parent website WOVENSOULS.COM jm Aug 2013

September 4, 2013 · Leave a comment

Magnificent Lucknow Architecture

Am posting mini articles while I travel – these minis are mainly photos taken on previus travels.   More pr images available on the parent website WOVENSOULS.COM jm Aug 2013 … Continue reading

August 30, 2013 · Leave a comment

Large Textile Art Installations from the Buddhist World

Just a few photos from my past travels. Tashiding Sikkim More pro images may be viewed on WOVENSOULS.COM jm Aug 2013

August 27, 2013 · Leave a comment

Stone Art from the Past

Amazing stone art from a few centuries ago. Pics above and below from Kathmandu Pics below from Guwahati While tastes and lifestyles change over the eras, these forms of art … Continue reading

August 26, 2013 · 3 Comments

Goan Fisherman’s tale – traditional wisdom, traditional fishing

While one half of the world chases efficiency and big money, Goa continues to chase the perfect life. Afternoon siestas are still not traded for earnings. I have been turned … Continue reading

July 16, 2013 · 8 Comments

The story of the Pattua Painting of Bengal in the Wovensouls Collection

A few months ago, I spotted a piece of vintage folk art and without knowing quite what it was, I acquired it. It was a scroll, about 1 foot wide … Continue reading

June 27, 2013 · Leave a comment

Ankle Jewelry or Payal or Jhanjhar Traditions of Asia

All the assets in this article are a part of the WOVENSOULS collection and additional details of each asset may be viewed here on WovenSouls.com . Payal … a piece … Continue reading

June 22, 2013 · 11 Comments

Wall Art of Rural Rajasthan

Dedicated to those mistaken souls for whom ‘rural’ implies ‘poor’  or ‘undeveloped’ or ‘in-need-of-upliftment’. May the following pictures give them reason to modify their beliefs. Following are pictures of a … Continue reading

May 29, 2013 · 10 Comments

Photos of the Photography Exhibition at Galerie Luz Montreal

Some photographs of my third exhibition this quarter. Presented by Galerie Luz, Montreal. More updates to follow later! Pictures of the other two recently held exhibitions follow : Mumbai exhibition … Continue reading

January 20, 2013 · Leave a comment

Mini Photo Exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum Satellite Unit Opening at Taman Jurong

In pictures 5 photograph prints were selected for display at the opening of the Singapore Art Museum at Taman Jurong CC. The objective of having satellite units is to bring … Continue reading

January 13, 2013 · 1 Comment

Wovensouls makes its first sale to a Museum!

Time for celebration! Wovensouls has just made its first sale to a museum. That the buyer is a renowned museum with one of the best cultural collections in the world … Continue reading

January 12, 2013 · Leave a comment

Wovensouls Website relaunched

The structure and layout of the wovensouls website has been changed to make the flow smoother. Recent acquisitions of  antique textiles, antique jewelry and antique folk art, some of these … Continue reading

January 12, 2013

Recent additions to the antique jewelry collection

Exquisite heirloom pieces just added! 1. Antique turquoise necklace with large Ghau (with compartment) 2. Antique heirloom Naga necklace with shell, bone and glass beads 3. Antique Tuareg (African Sahara) … Continue reading

December 27, 2012

Photographs of the Tribal Expressions Exhibition, Singapore

Photos of an absolutely amazing experience!  Visitors reacted beyond expectation to the people in the photos, to the photos, to the expressions of human emotion, to the expressions of tribal … Continue reading

December 3, 2012 · 3 Comments

Camels go on a Pilgrimage with their Tribal Masters to pray

I am in Kutch. One of the districts of Gujarat. Which is one of the 28 states of India. This little portion tucked away in a corner of India bordering … Continue reading

October 2, 2012 · Leave a comment

Additions to the Wovensouls Antique Textile Gallery – Tribal Bags

A few tribal bags that were acquired on my travels….. Some are  bags originally used by tribals. Others are made using antique or vintage tribal textiles. All gorgeous. All very … Continue reading

September 21, 2012 · 1 Comment

Quill Art of the First People

  A short slideshow on the Quill Art of the first people of North America. But first some interesting facts about quillwork : Quillwork, the oldest form of embroidery of … Continue reading

September 11, 2012 · 2 Comments

Costumes of the First People – a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum

Feel like watching a fashion show? Visit the Royal Ontario Museum and view their rexhibits on the costumes of the First People. These works of textile art are housed at … Continue reading

September 2, 2012 · 2 Comments

Textile Art of South East Asia at the Asian Civilsations Museum

An album from a forgotten visit in 2007 to the Asian Civilisations Museum …. taken with a camera I do not even remember. A photography experience that probably made me … Continue reading

July 7, 2012 · Leave a comment

Tribal Textile Art of Kutch – the Bhuj Folk Art Museum

A self explanatory photo-essay showcasing the mirrorwork & embroidery of various tribes in the Kutch region of Gujarat India. But first an introduction to the two lovely ladies from the … Continue reading

July 2, 2012 · Leave a comment

Textile Art of Mizoram, The Lunglei Museum Collection

A walk through the textile & jewelry section of the Museum of Lunglei, the remotest town in the North Eastern state of Mizoram, India. Details of these pieces are available … Continue reading

June 27, 2012 · Leave a comment

Turban Art – the Crowning Glory of Indian Men

Turbans serve many uses for Indian men. They provide relief from the sun and a touch of color to the simple male costume. The loose ends are used as handkerchiefs, … Continue reading

June 26, 2012 · 1 Comment

Alternate Life Models 5 – Mizo culture

Most Eastern life models are patrilineal and the father-son lineage carries forward important life markers such as caste, name, inheritance etc. The rules are clear and common across geographies. But … Continue reading

June 24, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Classic Indian Village Fair – Gogunda mela

Not a single tourist present besides me. No Indian tourist. No foreign tourist.No men tourists. No women tourists. ONLY locals. ONLY villagers. And me. This is simply not a place … Continue reading

June 23, 2012 · Leave a comment

Gangaur Festival

A festival of devotion and of celebration of love. Shiva and Parvati are the epitome of love in Hindu mythology and this is one of the stories about their love. … Continue reading

June 23, 2012 · Leave a comment

Curious Dayak Tribal Objects

I had never articulated the thought in my head until Kuching but had always known this even during my days of scrounging through Chor Bazaar in Bombay and flea markets … Continue reading

June 14, 2012

Puppets & Puppeteers of Nagaur Rajasthan

An old folk saying “We are only puppets, our strings are being pulled by unknown forces” This is an article about puppets – from a place that is famous for … Continue reading

June 11, 2012 · 2 Comments

Latest Additions to the Antique Gallery – June 2012

Antique and Vintage acquisitions from the Dayak tribes from Sarawak, Sumatra and Kalimantan have been added to the Wovensouls galleries linked below: Antique Textiles from Borneo Antique Articles from Borneo … Continue reading

June 5, 2012

A Python for Dinner

Note: Please note that this article contains images of raw meat. If this is offensive to you do not read further. “Mom what’s for dinner” “Stir Fried Python” This would … Continue reading

May 28, 2012 · Leave a comment

Sarawak Diaries

The number of hours spent in an airplane seems to be directly proportional to the “Exotica  Quotient” of a destination. This is false of course and although I knew that, … Continue reading

May 28, 2012 · Leave a comment

Women of India – the Weaker sex….

Presenting a view of the woman seen as the classical “abalaa naari” or the helpless woman of Indian society. The tribal Indian woman. An epitome of freedom and strength! She … Continue reading

April 26, 2012

Music of the Manganiyar Tribe

The Manganiyars are famous through their shows worldwide titled the Manganiyar Seduction. Presented by international performance companies their music has received a platform it deserves. Awards and acclaim have followed … Continue reading

April 25, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Blacksmith Gadaliya Tribe of Rajasthan & Gujarat

One of the many tribes I met in Rajasthan – the Gadaliyas – the Blacksmiths. I have posted some images and an informed article by another blogger on nomadic tribe … Continue reading

April 24, 2012 · 2 Comments

Mewar Diaries

Rajasthan needs no introduction. Colors flood my senses from the moment I drive into the city of Udaipur from the airport late in the evening. After stopping to pick up … Continue reading

April 20, 2012 · 2 Comments

Folk Dances of Rajasthan

No words. Just videos that I have taken on my phone camera at the Bagaur Haveli in Udaipur. 1. A folk musician plays a traditional instrument called the Raavanhatta : … Continue reading

April 20, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Man with 39 Wives

A remote village in Mizoram. Returning from Lunglei to Aizawl I took a detour via Sirchip in order to meet this man with a new idea of life. Communication with … Continue reading

March 17, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Chapchar Kut Harvest Festival of Mizoram

A glimpse of the Chapchar Kut Harvest festival held at Aizawl in March 2012. The Chapchar Kut is the Harvest festival of Mizoram and celebrated across the hills in March … Continue reading

March 17, 2012 · Leave a comment

Mizoram Diaries

Mizoram. A landscape of blue mountains. Rising above white clouds and mist. Green. Pristine. Located in the North East of India. With a population of 10,00,000. Spread over half a … Continue reading

March 4, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Komusa Wandering Monks & their Shakuhachi flutes

Arm Chair Travel  The Distance between point A and point B may be reduced by either one of them moving to the other. Since it is not possible to move … Continue reading

February 24, 2012

The Last Dance

The Paris Opera Ballet (France) presented at the Esplanade in Singapore recently. Before I entered the private box that I had a seat in, the hosts – the Esplanade management … Continue reading

February 11, 2012 · Leave a comment

Intense Spirituality – the Thaipusam Festival

They say spirituality awakens at a particular moment – and that moment is necessarily different for each person. I do not think I have reached my moment yet. But I … Continue reading

February 7, 2012 · 2 Comments

Arunachal Pradesh Diaries

Nested in the Himalayan foothills, almost untouched by my world that is desperately seeking answers to its energy crisis, its financial crisis fuelled by ‘more & more’ & ‘growth’, and … Continue reading

January 18, 2012 · 1 Comment

Fierce Nocte Headhunters

Portrait-collage of the Nocte Tribe, Khonsa, Arunachal Pradesh, a friendly happy yet fierce tribe with headhunting ancestry. Hi res images available on www.jainamishra.com My other related articles Headhunting Tropies Back … Continue reading

January 18, 2012 · 1 Comment

The Gaanv Boodhas or Village Headmen of Arunachal Pradesh

Am stating the obvious – that every journey results in not only a fresh view of old things, but also views of things never seen before by the beholder. Having … Continue reading

January 16, 2012

Glimpses of a contented People – the Arunachalis

Images of interesting elements of Arunachali lifestyle have been put together as a general kaleidoscope. For separate articles on the specific topics, click on the links below: Hunter-Gatherer-Weavers  Innovative housing … Continue reading

January 15, 2012

A chance encounter with a Shaman Priest during a sacrifice ritual

Rural Arunachal Pradesh, Dec 2011 This was an encounter that took me by surprise and swept me off my feet! When I think back, it is difficult to imagine the … Continue reading

January 7, 2012 · 4 Comments

The Arunachali – the Hunter-Gatherer-Weaver

Tiny hamlets dot the Himalayan foothills of Arunachal Pradesh. Some lie along the winding roads while a large number are accessible only by foot paths taking as long as 3-5 … Continue reading

January 5, 2012

Tribal Signatures – Face Tattoos of the Apatani tribe

The lifestyle of Apatani hilltribe of Arunachal Pradesh fascinates a cultural traveller on several aspects. But the one that hit me with the greatest intensity are the 2 tribal signatures … Continue reading

January 4, 2012

Arunachal Hilltribe Lifestyle 2 : Innovative housing

Arunachal Pradesh landscapes comprise the foothills of the Himalayas and is inhabited mainly by tribes.The hills are dotted with tribal villages all across its 85000 sq km expanse. Hills and … Continue reading

December 16, 2011 · Leave a comment

Head Hunting Trophies

The British had banned head hunting during the days of the Raj and ordered that all trophies – such as skulls of enemy tribes – be destroyed. Most tribes complied. … Continue reading

December 11, 2011 · 4 Comments

Ram Leela at Dassera in Mumbai

The Ramayan is a well known epic about the triumph of good over evil. But the Ram Leela – the enactment of the Ramayana is a lesser known event. In … Continue reading

November 16, 2011 · 2 Comments

Ladakh Diaries

“LADAKH – THE HERMIT KINGDOM”  PROVIDES AN INTRODUCTION TO LADAKH AND IS A PREFACE TO A SERIES OF SUBJECT SPECIFIC ARTICLES ON LADAKH. In the olden days, in the Hindu … Continue reading

November 11, 2011 · 1 Comment

“An Indian Discovers India” – Photo Art Prints Exhibition

For an Indian born and raised in urban India, discovering the diverse spectrum of cultures in the extreme geographical ends has been a journey filled with revelations about India’s identity. … Continue reading

November 3, 2011

Traditional Sports of Ladakh – Archery

The word ‘sports’ evokes visions of young fit people. It evokes images of competitive spirits. But in most folk sports that I have watched in places that remain pure and … Continue reading

October 24, 2011

Mountain Adventures 18000ft above sea level – a landslide at the Khardungla Pass!

This was, without a doubt, the most difficult journey I have ever made. I have travelled to Everest Base camp, have travelled squeezed into the boot of a car on … Continue reading

October 24, 2011 · Leave a comment

Bactrian Camels of the Central Asian Silk Route – Ladakh

Diskit village, Nubra valley. Ladakh. Wedged between two ranges of the Himalayas. Sand dunes. River beds. Mountains with badly scratched faces. Mountains with a topology that mesmerised. Rock formations that … Continue reading

October 23, 2011

The Chamms Masked Dances by the Monks of Chemrey Monastery – Ladakh

Lamas of the ancient Chemrey monastery performing the Masked dances in Leh in which they enact religious tales with a moral. The stunning colors of the flowing robes combined with … Continue reading

October 23, 2011 · Leave a comment

Traditional Sports of Ladakh – Polo

Where else would we find a monastery, a chorten, mountain peaks AND polo players in the same shot??!!! The cheerleading squad – traditional drummers The teams A flying horse? A … Continue reading

October 4, 2011

An Appeal for “The Blue Veil Project”

  The magnificent head dress of Ladakh – the Perak laden with rows and rows of turquoise gem stones and coral, is probably among the most exquisite bridal ornaments in … Continue reading

October 1, 2011 · 2 Comments

Ancient Murals of Alchi Monastery – an art-collector’s delight

Alchi is a sleepy and simple unglorified village about 70 km to the West of Leh. Nothing in its approach route or in the buildings and structures of the village … Continue reading

September 23, 2011

Mastering the Mind and Body – Monk Warriors of Xiaolin (Shaolin) – a photoessay

Xiaolin or Shaolin. China. Popularised in the film “36 Chambers of Shaolin” (1978) When I woke up yesterday, I had no idea that the day would hold unforgettable encounters with … Continue reading

September 23, 2011

A night-out with the Nomads of Changthang

  Dreamt of spending time with nomads for a long time. To experience their minimalistic lives,  to observe the mental strength with which they embraced the harshness of nature, to … Continue reading

September 15, 2011 · 6 Comments

Antique Jain Paintings, India

Jainism as a religion has harmony with all elements of nature as one of the core beliefs. Non violence, minimalistic living and compassion are values central to its philosophy. All … Continue reading

August 13, 2011

Christian Paintings from the Past

Old. Beautiful. Full of stories. Full of devotion. Antique Church Paintings. Many of these are on wood board. Others may be on canvas. Some hang high up on walls and … Continue reading

July 31, 2011 · 4 Comments

Shadow Puppets of Malaysia, Indonesia & South India

Wayang Kulit is the name given to folk ‘shadow’ puppet shows performed in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The puppe tperformances are usually story telling mediums and most stories narrate excerpts … Continue reading

July 21, 2011

Antique Java Topeng Masks and Wayang Topeng

Wayang Topeng is an Indonesian dance form that uses masks such as the ones shown below, that evolved in the 16th century. Performances enact Javanese stories about 12th century heroes … Continue reading

July 11, 2011

Viva San Jao

24th June 2011 A second visit to the wonderful non-touristy festival in Goa! For the local people and by the local people. Vibrant colors, Vibrant music, Vibrant boat decor and … Continue reading

June 25, 2011 · 1 Comment

Invitation to a Lambani Gypsy Tribal Wedding

A Lambani Gypsy family. A Village in Karnataka, India. May 8th 2011. An arranged marriage. This is an account of a gypsy tribal wedding in a tiny village that had … Continue reading

May 7, 2011

Exquisite Vintage Kebayas – the costume of the Peranakan culture

Peranakan, Baba-Nyonya and Straits Chinese are terms used for descendants of the very early Chinese immigrants to the Nusantara region of British controlled Malaya and the Dutch controlled Java among … Continue reading

April 21, 2011

Sikkim Diaries

‘To live many lifetimes within a lifetime…”. Its time for another lifetime! My trip to Sikkim in March 2011, was planned during the week of Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebrations. … Continue reading

March 17, 2011

Chanting ceremony at Kagyud Monastery, Lingdum, Sikkim

The Kagyud Monastery was the best experience of my Sikkim trip. This is the monastery that I will return to someday. On the first visit, 2 days prior to Losar, … Continue reading

March 17, 2011 · 1 Comment

Lama Dances at Thongsa Monastery, Kalimpong

The dates for my Sikkim trip were arranged so that I could experience the Lama Dances at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. Information on the net was sketchy, but some websites … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Breathtaking Mural Paintings of Sikkim Monasteries

The images need no supporting words… Just a small preface …all images were taken inside a large hall lit only by a few butter lamps. I have not used a … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Art in Buddhist Ritual Objects

My awareness of Buddhist rituals and practices is limited to my observations. Someday I hope I will have the opportunity to seek out the stories and the philosophies behind these … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Art in Sikkimese Monastery Architecture

The initial images display exteriors of monasteries while the last dozen display the interiors. Back to Sikkim Diaries jm March 2011

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Wood Art in Sikkim Monasteries – Windows, Doors and Pillars

The design of the Buddhist Monasteries in Sikkim is heavily influenced by Tibetan designs and bears a close similarity to the visuals seen on the other side of the Himalayas. … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

On the Silk Route at the Nathula Pass, India-China border

The day journey from Gangtok is a difficult one, but that doesn’t stop tourists from reaching the pass 15000 ft above sea level…..I was just one of the 4-5 dozen … Continue reading

March 7, 2011 · Leave a comment

Buddhist Yak Butter Art of Sikkim

I usually travel ‘blind’ – without detailed research. So I do not have a clear idea of what to expect. As a result, the experiences I go through along the … Continue reading

March 5, 2011 · 1 Comment

Procession at the Enchey Monastery, Sikkim

The head Lama at Enchey, a quiet handsome and dignified gentleman who rarely speaks to visitors, honored me with a detailed conversation about his life* and about the monastery. He … Continue reading

March 4, 2011 · Leave a comment

Pattachitra Art of Assam

Pattachitra is similar to ‘storyboards’ or stories told along with pictures. The tales depicted are usually derived from epics such as Bhagawat and Ramayana. In ancient India, this art was … Continue reading

February 18, 2011 · 3 Comments

Rural art & crafts of Assam

Art arises as an expression of common people as expressions of culture, expression of religion and expression of belief. In cases where the art form finds a patron, the technique … Continue reading

February 18, 2011 · Leave a comment

Textile Art of the Ahom Kingdom – Guwahati Museum Collection

The Ahoms are a community found largely in Assam. This community consists of the descendants of ethnic Tai people who accompanied the Tai prince Sukaphaa who established the Ahom kingdom … Continue reading

February 17, 2011 · 2 Comments

Street Shrines of India

The Gods are everywhere – literally. In busy Bombay, in parts where its working class real people live, almost every street has a wayside shrine. A holy tree or an … Continue reading

January 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

Cultural Photography

It started with an interest in Tibetan antiques introduced to me by the local flea market. Searches on the internet led me to ebay and while I looked at Tibetan … Continue reading

January 12, 2011 · 1 Comment

Tribal Textile and Bead Art of Nagaland

This photoessay is preceded by the article that appears on Jozan.net titled “Red, White and Black – Tribal Textiles of Nagaland” available here. Images will say it better than words … Continue reading

December 27, 2010 · 3 Comments

Nagaland Diaries

An image from 1870s Nov 29th, 2010 Am setting out to explore Nagaland – home to over 20 distinct tribes characterised by two intriguing lifetsyles: headhunting and minimal clothing. This … Continue reading

December 26, 2010 · 1 Comment

Tribal Dances of Nagaland

Every tribe has unique ways of celebrating festivals – some that are common to all Nagamese, others that are unique to each tribe. A collection of images of various tribal … Continue reading

December 26, 2010

Sacrificial Lamb at Kamakhya temple, Guwahati

I had heard about the Kamakhya or Kamakshi temple through a scientist friend recently. He was intrigued by the world of Tantrics and as he talked about his fascination, he … Continue reading

December 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

Naga lifestyle

Pineapple plantation Buddies chatting on a ‘puliya’ Local Backpacks Dimapur market: Small intertwining lanes that would challenge the map-drawers skills; Shops spilling out onto the streets with wares stacked in … Continue reading

December 13, 2010 · 1 Comment

Goan Folk Art – Tulsi Pots

Goa is known for its beaches …but over the years its numerous hidden attractions have revealed themselves to me, slowly, one at a time, ensuring that I remain in love … Continue reading

October 25, 2010

Beautiful People – the Eunuch community of Bombay

Eunuchs have been mentioned in the Mahabharata, in tales from the Mughal times and from ancient China. In all of these they played a role in royal and noble homes. … Continue reading

October 20, 2010 · 2 Comments

The Dhunuchi Dance at Durga Puja

I first experienced this dance through one of the most beautiful Hindi films of this decade – Parineeta. This dance is performed at the Durga Puja – a hindu festival … Continue reading

October 13, 2010 · Leave a comment

Thumbuakar Tribal Group, Borneo

What a delightful and soul satisfying find this has been!! Gorgeous humans, gorgeous textiles and topping all that – gorgeous performance art! Bamboo dance, fire dance – in which they … Continue reading

September 27, 2010 · Leave a comment

A cup of tea with Nomads and Gypsies of Kutch

  This trip in early 2006  marked the start of my solo travelling life. A novice solo traveller a bit nervous, but as usual serendipity helped me along….. Armed with … Continue reading

August 24, 2010 · 6 Comments

Ajrakh Block Print Art

This is a photoessay on the art of block printing called ‘Ajrakh’. The process described here, is the same for any block print art. The speciality of Ajrakh is that … Continue reading

August 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

Hmong Batik Art

The Hmong are one of the hilltribes living in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. One of signatures of this group is their Batik Art used in their garments. The following photos … Continue reading

August 21, 2010 · 3 Comments

Kissing a Bengal Tiger

If Webster needed examples from the real world to explain the word ‘inappropriate’ – the names of two tigers I met and cuddled, Sticky Rice and Spicy Sausage would be … Continue reading

August 12, 2010 · 1 Comment

Lifestyle of Hilltribes of Northern Thailand

Following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Jozan.net. ‘Textiles, costumes & dress codes have played an integral role as announcers of significant life events, in some cultures … Continue reading

July 11, 2010 · 2 Comments

Travelling Godmen – the Spiritual Healers of India

Travelling Godmen are wanderers that travel from village to village, restricting themselves to a particular geographical area (usually dictated by the language). They sell spirituality and its benefits in different … Continue reading

July 10, 2010 · 6 Comments

Newari Wood Art

I am ashamed now of my ignorance of that entire Himalayan region that houses a rainbow spectrum of historic cultures – that have left so many pieces of art & … Continue reading

July 9, 2010 · 1 Comment

Pashupatinath – celebration & sorrow

Dusk at the Bagmati river behind Pashupatinath temple. Pre-monsoon clouds. Steep steps going up from the river on the opposite side of the river to worship platforms. Lower cremation platforms … Continue reading

June 30, 2010 · 2 Comments

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