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

A Himalayan Monk’s Mask for Royal Rituals

The masked dances of Himalayan Buddhist monks are fascinating and since 2011, I’ve watched them on four different occasions in various monasteries (Kalimpong, Matho, Stok, Jokhang-Leh ).   The Chamms … Continue reading

July 12, 2019 · Leave a comment

Vanished

When things vanish it feels bad. When cultures vanish it feels worse. Here is a Yao Shaman’s manuscript that came to me about 2 years ago. About 4 months ago, … Continue reading

July 17, 2018 · Leave a comment

Online Exhibition – Tampan Ship Cloths from Sumatra

Introduction The magnetic appeal of Textile Arts, to me, is directly proportional to – the art – the craft – the symbolism – the cultural story and – the usage … Continue reading

July 22, 2017 · 1 Comment

A Yao Ceremonial Mask

On a trip in 2009, I got this Yao mask from back of the bottom drawer of a store owned by an elderly couple. The beautiful woman and I shared … Continue reading

May 5, 2017 · Leave a comment

Antique Tantric Phurba Carving – Available for Sale

Fourteen little pieces strung together in a necklace. Not an ordinary necklace but one that was used in rituals by tantric priests. Each is a Phurba made of Yak bone … Continue reading

January 30, 2017 · Leave a comment

The City of Benaras

“Yeh Benaras Hai” Literally it means “This is Banaras” but the tone included pride and an assurance – a way of saying “Don’t worry – it’s okay – this is … Continue reading

October 1, 2016 · 2 Comments

Diversity in Folk Art – Bone Carvings

Exploring one more medium of folk art – Bones!

August 2, 2016 · Leave a comment

External Link: Bali’s Island of the Dead

A note about the unique ritual in Bali.   Extrenal Link

July 7, 2016 · Leave a comment

Art in service of Culture – A Sindoor Box

As I say in my lectures – traditional art in Asia is rarely ever “art for art’s sake” and almost always has a second layer hidden beneath. It is either … Continue reading

July 2, 2016 · 2 Comments

Picking a Bone …

Picking a bone …. Not exactly any bone. But a Kapala bone. A bone from the skull of a deceased Buddhist Lamaji. Under the assumption that his wisdom and powers … Continue reading

March 12, 2016 · 1 Comment

Side Effects of Religion

With the world slowly going crazy and the use of religion as a platform to justify it all, it is natural that there are discussions everywhere on this provocative subject. … Continue reading

January 10, 2016 · 2 Comments

Narakasur again

Driving back to my home in Goa last night, I saw many fully constructed Narakasurs along the way home. Saw many groups of children stopping cars for donations…. But regrettably … Continue reading

November 10, 2015 · Leave a comment

Of Human Bondage – The Chains of Marriage

  Marriage with its Emotional Bondage* that is Voluntary & Reciprocal can be a beautiful experience. In the Hindu tradition, this bondage is poignantly represented by the Gold Chain that … Continue reading

August 12, 2014 · 1 Comment

Praying for Rain

A self-explanatory photo pre-1900 : An Indian Fakir performing a ritual praying for rain. The context is relevant even today! jm June 2014    

June 22, 2014 · 1 Comment

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

The Enigmatic Ceremonial Weavings from Sumatra

The beginning of my latest article published on Jozan.net: 1. INTRODUCTION Weaving of ceremonial cloths ceased in Lampung, Sumatra at the end of the 19th century. This phenomenon of the … Continue reading

November 9, 2013 · 4 Comments

The Hungry Ghost and Shraadh Rituals

Today is the first day after the NO-MOON night. For the many religions that mark their lives with the moon’s revolutions this date marks the first day of a new … Continue reading

August 9, 2013 · 2 Comments

Akha Hilltribe Costume Art

The fragility of the Akha hilltribe culture is most poignantly presented in a book ‘Peoples of the Golden Triangle’. Ironically, the two people who wrote this book were missionaries in … Continue reading

July 17, 2013 · 1 Comment

Tampan – the bewitching extinct weaving of Lampung

 Weaving ceased in Lampung at the end of the 19th century. Ceased. Extinct. Forever. This fact would be tragic even if we were speaking of some other geography. But once … Continue reading

February 10, 2013 · 3 Comments

18th / 19th Century Yao Painted scrolls, North Vietnam

Art. A subject that seems enticing, mysterious as well as ambiguous. An area where it is hard to be sure of oneself especially with respect to valuation. When I look … Continue reading

January 18, 2013 · 2 Comments

Miniature Thangkas from Mongolia

Devotional Art – art that arises out of worship and devotion – produces some of the most spectacular works the world has seen.  Sufi music is an example and so … Continue reading

January 3, 2013 · Leave a comment

A Rabari Gypsy Tribal Wedding Ritual

‘Luck by Chaanus’* was on our side Mr. V.bhai – my self appointed guide for the day – declared observing that we had just witnessed two pre-wedding rituals an hour … Continue reading

August 10, 2012 · 9 Comments

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

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

Dreams I dreamt but did not live : the Ambubasi Tantric Fair

My first visit to the Kamakhya temple or Kamakshi temple exposed me a little to its history and to its significance. Every year this temple celebrates the Ambubasi Tantric fair … Continue reading

August 29, 2011

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

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

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

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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