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

Tears in Heaven

We never love quite as much as at the time of saying goodbye…. I loved this piece – I loved the artist who lived a hundred years ago – I … Continue reading

March 29, 2019 · Leave a comment

Textile Study Tour of Punjab

Preface on the minor notes about the textile study tour, Punjab, 2019

March 16, 2019 · Leave a comment

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

Krishna Janmashtami

Celebrating the birth of Krishna in the small village of Brittona in Goa with a dahi handi! The earthenware pot filled with dahi and home made butter is suspended between … Continue reading

September 3, 2018 · 3 Comments

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

The Astitva Project – Phase III

  Just as life happens just one step at a time, it seems to me that in the same way wisdom reveals itself one step at a time. It would … Continue reading

July 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

Before the Blue Jeans came along…

My world seemed mighty impressed with the concept of ‘blue jeans’ when they came along in the 1970s. Everyone had to have a pair. But before that, much much before … Continue reading

June 18, 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

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

Ancient Cave Paintings in Sasphol

13th Century Sasphol Caves, Ladakh Went up a mountain to see the magnificent Buddhist cave paintings. Worth every huff and puff. The big achievement was the small journey out of … Continue reading

May 10, 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

How did Elibelinde travel to the Swat Valley?

One more example of migration of cultural memes that might hold a clue to historical events

March 18, 2018 · Leave a comment

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

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

Art Revived

Some vanishing arts have been strengthened and resurrected by external change agents. Soof Embroidery of Gujarat is one such art that had the blessing of nurturing by people who devote … Continue reading

December 4, 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

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

Antique Cheriyal Painted Scroll – Art for Oral Traditions

In  South Indian Paintings  – A catalogue of the British Museum collection, A. L. Dallaiccola notes  “Although in the past the majority of Indian people might have been illiterate, they … Continue reading

May 5, 2017 · Leave a comment

External Article: In the Shade of the Royal Umbrella

An external link to start the week with! Link May 2017

May 2, 2017 · Leave a comment

Wearing the Neck Rings – Cultural Tradition of the Karen Tribe 

The process of putting the rings on the neck of girls from he Long Neck Karen Tribe

May 1, 2017 · Leave a comment

Where the Men are Liberated

In most places around the globe, the world has imprisoned men in clothing of plain colors – colors that ensure that the wearers melt into the background. The most they are allowed is a strip of color in the form of a tie. [But don’t be fooled – it is mostly lip-service – out of the 5 feet of fabric, only about 1 foot is allowed to peep through from under the coat!! ]

February 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

Talk: “Wedding Embroideries of Kutch”

A presentation of the Talk held at the Textile Museum Washington D.C. in June 2016.

September 11, 2016 · 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 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

External Link: A Wedding in Central Asia

I do not understand the words – but the beauty can be seen and understood easily! LINK  

May 5, 2016 · 1 Comment

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

Understanding the Y – Women not allowed in Sabarimala Temple

It is easy to rake up activism simply for the sake of it. After all we have all been raised on inspirational sayings  like “be the change you want to … Continue reading

January 26, 2016 · Leave a 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

Lambanis Celebrating Life  – Festive Dance

Ceremonial Dance of the Lambani group

January 7, 2016 · Leave a comment

What’s in a Name!

I did not realise the complexity of our naming system until I came across the extremely simple – and therefore confusing – naming system used for naming children in Bali, … Continue reading

December 27, 2015 · 1 Comment

A Journey to Assam along a ‘Vrindavani Vastra’

It is said that if you cross the Brahmaputra river once, you will return again to cross it a total of seven times. I’ve done 3 and as I try … Continue reading

October 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

The ASTITVA Project – Rescuing Textile Traditions – Chapter 1

ASTITVA = IDENTITY. This project intends to rescue at-risk textile traditions among vanishing cultures in India.

August 3, 2015 · 9 Comments

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

Karakalpak Motifs – Art in Geometry

              Sometimes it is enough to just enjoy the visual without knowing the meaning… View the complete piece and other images here on wovensouls,com … Continue reading

July 3, 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

Burning the Old Man

A fantastic memorable quiet New Year’s Eve party with strangers – carrying on the old tradition of burning an old man dummy. Goa, India

January 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

A Bleak Sunset of Vanishing Cultures

Yesterday as I walked on Carter Road in the mood for contemplation, I witnessed this totally bland sunset. Grey, bleak, unnoticed, unsung and so gradual that visually one would not … Continue reading

November 26, 2014 · 1 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

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

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

Soul on Fire – The Passion of a Bhopa

PRELUDE Excerpt from an article* I wrote for Jozan Magazine about the Art of the Phad. The shortest way to describe the Phad is ‘a devotional mural storyboard painted on … Continue reading

May 18, 2014 · 3 Comments

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

Vanished Without a Trace – A Clan of 84 Villages

TIME: Around 13th century. PLACE: Rajasthan PARADIGM: Extremely Caste Conscious Social Hierarchy STORY Kuldhara is village outside Jaisalmer.  It was the home of Paliwal Brahmins. Every region, has its unstated … Continue reading

May 2, 2014 · 1 Comment

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

A LADAKHI LADY DONS HER HEIRLOOM JEWELRY

On the way back from interior Himalayas in September last year, we stopped at a tiny village in Skyurbuchan that had the only restaurant along the way, for a late … Continue reading

April 30, 2014 · 2 Comments

Inspired by the Gods – Jain Architecture

God can take one to great heights! I never really believed that until I began witnessing religious art created by inspired people. These works are inspired from deep within the … Continue reading

April 25, 2014 · Leave a comment

Double Sided Embroidery 1 – The Technique

While doing some research on newly acquired textiles with double-sided embroidery from Rajasthan & Swat valley, I came across this fantastic article. The Su double-sided embroidery from China is different … Continue reading

April 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

Unparalleled Art in Architecture – Havelis of Jaisalmer

The unparalleled art in the architecture seen in the Havelis of Jaisalmer mesmerizes and leaves the visitor speechless. The spell cast by the beauty of the walls built with stone … Continue reading

April 20, 2014 · 2 Comments

Living with Art – A Home in rural Rajasthan

On a highway outside Jaisalmer, driving at 80kmph, I spot an artistically decorated walled enclave. The driver is instructed to stop. He is first confused about my request to visit … Continue reading

April 2, 2014 · 2 Comments

Rajasthan Diaries

The caravan stops again.  At Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and the surrounding desert villages! Sand dunes, an abandoned village, mesmerising architecture, a surprising desert-turned-fertile landscape, warm people, and finally an unforgettable meeting … Continue reading

April 1, 2014 · 20 Comments

Introducing The Swat & Kohistan Textiles Collection on Wovensouls.com

Introducing a small collection of textiles from a culture that is literally being extinguished by war. The silk embroidery of these textiles is as fine and delicate as their living … Continue reading

March 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

Traveling Godmen

An addition to the article on the Traveling Godmen or spiritual healers of rural India. This morning I came across this extravagantly decorated Bullock and the owner, going from door … Continue reading

January 30, 2014 · 1 Comment

Vanishing Cultural Knowledge – the Penans of Borneo

This a picture* of a man from the Penan group that now number 10,000 and is probably the last group that lives surviving solely on the produce of hunting & … Continue reading

December 8, 2013 · 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

Lifestyle & Beliefs of the Dard Aryan Ethnic Group of Ladakh

“It happens when it happens” Time is not a rare commodity and leisure is a luxury that all enjoy. ‘It happens when it happens’. No hurry. No time crunch. No … Continue reading

November 1, 2013 · 3 Comments

The beauty of a Powerful Red Dragon

Of the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac, the dragon is the most powerful animal associated with a given year in the cycle of 12 years. Children born in the … Continue reading

October 14, 2013 · Leave a comment

Turquoise Art – The Blue Veil of Ladakh

An unusual Museum Quality Perak headdress from the Purang / Burang region. Authentic heirloom peraks are extreme,y rare now and among Peraks Purang Peraks are the rarest to find. The … Continue reading

September 23, 2013 · 2 Comments

Navratri – the Festival of Garba and Raas Dance

With the Full Moon night of this lunar month, the season of festivals begins in India. The festival phase of the year coincide with the lean activity phases in farming … Continue reading

August 20, 2013 · 2 Comments

Art in Antique Hookah Shisha Pipes

My children are surprised to learn that Hookah and Shisha is not a discovery of their generation! That generation (and every other before it) of young people believes that every … Continue reading

August 15, 2013 · 1 Comment

A walk through a traditional Ryukyu Village, Okinawa, Japan

Ryukyu Kingdom – Wikipedia says it existed between the 15th & 19th century. A walk through a village in Okinawa that has been reconstructed by transporting century old houses from … Continue reading

August 13, 2013 · 3 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

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

DOCUMENTING THE SLOW EXTINCTION OF LAMBANI TEXTILE TRADITIONS

The tribal group known as the Lambanis have settled in South-West India and are known for their unique textile & jewelry adornments. Their traditional costumes are strong signatures and announcers … Continue reading

June 21, 2013 · 1 Comment

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

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

Meeting Lambani Textile Artists

Awhile ago, while doing research for an art installation project, I met these textile artists who work for themselves – who create their gorgeous art mainly for self-consumption and not … Continue reading

September 10, 2012 · 1 Comment

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

New Acquisitions of Kutch Textile Art in the Wovensouls Collection

The eye learns with every new exposure and becomes more discerning. Now I value the unusual form more than I did earlier.  In the world of textile art everything can … Continue reading

August 14, 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

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

A Dog’s Sixth Sense – a spooky experience

My Grandma told me folk tales that aroused my curiosity. Tales that were so mystical and interesting that they opened up a whole world of the un-understood realm – enticing … Continue reading

May 21, 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

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

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

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

Church of St. Francis Xavier of Assisi, Old Goa

I studied at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, and my school was a convent run by a nun order that is closely associated with the Jesuit priests, an order started … Continue reading

July 25, 2011 · 2 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

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

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

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

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

Traditional Naga Bamboo Climbing and Fire Making

Greased-bamboo pole climbing and Traditional fire-making….a few images. Boys preparing to compete in the greased bamboo pole climbing competition between tribes Splashing mud to create friction *** Fire making by … Continue reading

December 13, 2010 · Leave a comment

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

Tears in Kohima

My friend who had fought several wars as part of the infantry brought me to look at this landmark site. It probably held some significance to him, but I had … Continue reading

December 12, 2010 · 1 Comment

Sumazau Folk Dance of Sabah, Borneo

This is a mini photo-essay on the folk dance of Sabah, Borneo, easily one of the most graceful and fluid dances in Asia. Outstretched hands and palms moving up and … Continue reading

November 22, 2010 · Leave a comment

Journey of a lifetime – Tibet

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step… For this magnificent journey, many administrative steps needed to be taken to make the journey possible. But every stressful … Continue reading

November 22, 2010 · Leave a comment

The Lifestyle of the Qashqai tribe

A few lifestyle videos of the Qashqai Images of the beautiful Qashqai people Music Folk Dance Daily Life Rug Creation Rugs from the Qashqai usually have their signature on them … Continue reading

November 15, 2010 · Leave a comment

Nomads of Mongolia

A youtube video on the nomads from Mongolia.   jm

November 15, 2010 · Leave a 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

Panaji to Sindhudurg Sea Fort and back

If you are considering going to Sindhudurg Sea Fort, you’d look at the map, find Sindhudurg on it and then head for it….but that would be a mistake! If you … Continue reading

October 24, 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

The Dragon Dance

A set of photos on the dragon dance. The dragon chasing the pearl shows that the dragon is continually in the pursuit of wisdom. Every unique formation has a name … Continue reading

September 10, 2010 · Leave a comment

The magnificent Lion Dance

The boys performing these feats are not professionals. They are students or young working adults who also perform the lion dance… The main performers of a team are the dancers.  … Continue reading

September 8, 2010 · 1 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

Alternate Sexuality Traditions – 1, The Khmers

PREFACE This is a collection of readings from various sources. Each article throws some light on alternative social systems. They intrigue because they are different from models known to me … Continue reading

August 17, 2010 · Leave a comment

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

The Lambani Gypsy Tribe

It is my good fortune to have spent a lot of time with the members of this tribe, and to have the opportunity to  explore their memes or their psychological … Continue reading

July 21, 2010 · Leave a 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

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