Thursday, 18 April 2013

Gorgeous Feminine Ornament

SA-GHOSA KATAKA (anklets) North India; 19th century Diamond chips set in enamelled silver glit make up these rigid and hollow anklets that contain small metal spheres which tinkle with movement. In rajputana, it has been said that women are given foot bells, chains, and tinkling anklets, not only to frighten snakes away when they move outside at night, but in order that their husbands may know where they are when they cannot be seen.TINKLING TREADS

Few Hindus are not conversant with Lakshmana’s statement in the Ramayana, when asked if he recognized the jewels recovered in the forest as belonging to his brother's wife  Sita. Lakshmana replied that he recognized neither the armlets nor the earrings; only the anklets were familiar to him, since his gaze, with reverence appropriate to the times, never strayed above Sita’s feet.

The earliest references to anklets are in Buddhist texts. In the Therigatha, one of the nuns is described as wearing an anklet. Earlier to this, the Rig Veda does describe an ornament that could be interpreted as a ring for the feet, path khadayoh. By the time of the Natyashastra, the anklet was definitely an established tradition in Indian Shringara, judging from the various types listed by Bharata. He mentions the kinkinika as an anklet with small bells attached to it, still popular with Indian women; the ratna jalaka, an elaborate jewelled (ratna) net (jalaka) which stretched from toe to ankle, partially covering the Foot (silver versions of this ornament are still worn by Coorgi brides). The sa-ghosa kataka is probably a hollow ring-like anklet with a pleasant jingling sound (#312). Describing anklets, the Amarakosha lists eight synony ms for the ornament, each term implying a stylistic variation to the generic nupura. 

NUPUR (anklets) North India early 19th century individual gold units set with diamonds and enamelled on the reverse are strung together to form this jewel.The literary compositions of Kalidasa, Sudraka and their contemporaries are filled with lyrical similes extolling the charm and beauty of the anklet, especially when worn by women. Completely capturing poetic imagination, Kalidasa in the Malavikagnimitram eulogizes the hidden promise of fulfilment in the music of a woman‘s anklets, referring to the ancient belief that the Ashoka tree was believed to flower if struck by the foot of a young maiden. The etymology of the term nupura is connected to antah pura, the female apartments in a palace. The ornament which announces (navati) the presence of the women therein by its sound is the nupura. 

NUPUR anklets) North India 19th century Diamonds set in gold and bordered with Basra pearls on the upper edgeAmongst tribal women, long tubular bands of brass encircle the ankle all the way up to the calf to protect them against snake bites while walking through long grass. Alarmingly large productions of rigid silver are still the norm in rural India. Strictly speaking, golden anklets are forbidden to Hindus. Since the metal symbolizes Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, it is considered sacrilegious to wear it on one’s feet. Royalty, however, were exempt, and breathtakingly beautiful gem-studded creations were worn by them and the aristocracy. 

"One needs to he an Indian woman, born and bred in the great tradition, to realize the sense of power that such jewels as earrings and anklets lend their wearers; she knows the Full delight of swinging jewels touching her cheek at every step, and the fascination of the tinkling bells upon her anklets.

Writer-Usha R. Bala Krishnan & Meera Sushil Kumar

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