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Silver Jewellery and Jewelled Objects of Himachal Pradesh

Jewellery, Beads, Jewelled Objects

Silver Jewellery and Jewelled Objects of Himachal Pradesh

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Pahari women by tradition wear heavy silver ornaments crafted with sheet metal and wire. Jewellery for the head, ears, arms, neck and forehead is key with a range of designs crafted. The jewellery also usually includes an element of enameling in blue and green. Like across India their dress and jewellery is indicative of their occupation, marital status and community of origin; besides jewellery being an economic investment for rural women.

The chili tikka, sirkachamkuli, daman or daonitilak and chak are flat pieces of silver (either enamelled or embedded with pearls)that are worn suspended on the forehead and secured with chains that hang along the hair-line on both sides. The highly intricate nose ornaments nath or balu and the septum ornaments bulak or kundu that are worn only by married women. Necklaces include the torque- like sira or hansli to the small pendants or the toke. While many distinct bead neck-laces-kamrakhi mala, dodmala, jau mala, dar mala made of beads of various shapes and forms are linked together by silver plaques. Of these, the chandanhaar or chandrasanihaar, constructed of five or seven rows of facetted gold beads, is perhaps the most popular. These elaborate necklaces of several large and small die-stamped pendants are linked together by odd-numbered chains. Silver amulets are worn across Himachal by men, women and children as it is believed that they have the power to ward off evil spirits. Bagles, ornaments for the feet – toe rings, anklets are all commonly worn.

The designs, inspired by nature include the peepal leaves, other leaf forms, magnolia-bud, seeds, flowers and peacocks, snakes and the crescent moon. Silver or gold tassels are added n hair ornaments.

The craftsmen additionally make brass mohra, masks of deities. The tools are basic and include the tweezer, pliers, cutter, the klenti – the tool used to measure the diameter of rings, hammer and blow pipe.

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