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Showing 1 to 39 of 39 results
Showing 1 to 39 of 39 results
The Legacy of an Ancient Art; Tanjore Paintings
Thanjavur can be considered the heart of the Tamil country, with a civilization that reached great prominence during the Chola dynasty. It played a vital role in attracting talent and in keeping alive, creative traditions through many centuries. Tanjore or Thanjavur is one of the two major artistic regions and political powers in the southern Indian subcontinent that later spread in western culture during the British Raj. In the 16th century, it had become a great centre of dance, music, architecture, and the arts—sculpture, woodcraft, metal casting, mural painting. Thanjavur is famous for its highly advanced handicraft industries. Describing the city, British officer Hemmingway, writing in 1906, states- “Tanjore was known as the home of the fine arts under the native rulers who by their patronage attracted to their capital, the producers of most articles of luxury". This reputation still survives, though to a much modified degree. The Tanjore brass work is deservedly famous and its ornamental pith work. There are still several families who live by painting pictures. Silk weaving is said to employ 800 households. The town contains many other more usual and smaller industries and it is the centre of a great deal of trade.” It is not surprising that the art of Thanjavur is very closely related to crafts. The sacred icon paintings are related, on the one hand, to carved and painted wood and the other to jewelry with its stone setting and gliding. Tanjore paintings are notable for their lavish portrayals of deities, which feature bright colors and flashy ornaments, particularly gold foil. Even though the art form has evolved, it remains popular among art lovers and inspires many painters with its uniquely Indian flair.
Published in Oct 2021
Ayurveda
Ayurveda Ayurveda is an ancient healthy lifestyle system with roots in Indian culture. It is said that Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of Ayurveda, was the physician to the Hindu gods in ancient mythology. Brahma bestowed Dhanvantari with the knowledge of Ayurveda, and Dhanvantari then passed on this knowledge and taught a group of physicians. It is believed then that Ayurveda originates from Dhanvantari himself and that his medical wisdom was passed on to the sages and then to the human physicians.
Published in Oct 2021
Chola Bronzes: The Story of an Eternal Art
It is an undisputed fact that Tamil sculptors cast some of India’s most beautiful bronzes. One of the major South Indian dynasties, the Cholas who ruled over the Tamil-speaking land from the mid-ninth century to the thirteenth century contributed immensely to the art of sculpting in India. Chola sculptors created images in stone and metal of exceptional elegance and refinement. Icons of Hindu deities and saints, most of them laboriously carved from granite, were made to fill the deep plastered niches of Chola temple walls and gates. Bronze images, widely regarded as some of the world’s greatest metal sculptures, were also produced, especially in and around Tanjore. Many of these portable bronzes were carried in procession in elaborately carved wooden temple carts. A moment of genuine artistic coherence, the Chola period profoundly altered the course of South Indian art. Here, let us have a look at some of the most significant and exceptional Chola Bronze sculptures that have been preserved over time and are still available at museums. The images shown are not the original ones, but the imitations of these by talented artists from Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu.
Published in Oct 2021
Jutti Shoes
Jutti Shoes They say you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes he or she wears. One could say that this is also certainly the case when it comes India’s traditional footwear – you can tell a lot about the country by the style of footwear that’s been passed on from generation to generation. We’re talking about India’s well-known Jutti shoes, of course. The Jutti shoes are one of, if not the most common shoe style in India. However, they are actually also popular way beyond Indian shores. While the traditional style has seen various contemporary interpretations throughout the centuries, many may not actually be familiar with its history and significance.
Published in Oct 2021
Dhoti
Dhoti While Indian women famously wear beautiful saris, for Indian men, the equivalent of the traditional garment is the Dhoti. The Dhoti is a common form of menswear in India. Originating from the Sanskrit word “dhauti”, which means to “cleanse or wash”, the Dhoti refers to a cleansed garment which is part of everyday wear and frequently worn. A form of men’s trousers, the style of the Dhoti actually evolved from the Antriya, which was an ancient garment what was worn by passing a cloth through one’s legs and tucking it in at the back of the waist. The Antriya loosely covered one’s legs and fell into long pleats at the front. Part of Indian men’s national and ethnic costume, the Dhoti is also referred to as dhuti, chaadra, mardani, dhotar, and panchey. The traditional Dhoti is made of a single rectangular piece of unstitched cloth. It usually measures around four and a half to five meters or fifteen feet long.
Published in Oct 2021
Prayer shawls – important garments of ethnic Indian fashion and culture
Indian fashion is known as one of the most unique and interesting ones, that stands out from the rest. And it has a lot to do with its culture too. As one of the oldest cultures in the world, that has later shown to be a base to world fashion, Indian fashion has developed and changed according to the needs of the time. However, certain garments have remained unchanged today and they truly depict Indian fashion and culture. One such garment that has stood the test of time, and is now more popular than ever is the prayer shawl. First used and worn by men, the prayer shawl today is an important fashion garment and part of the women's Indian ethnic fashion. Not only does it carry a special cultural value it has been an inspiration to modern fashion trends.
Published in Oct 2021
Indian Weddings
Indian Weddings A big fat Greek wedding has got nothing on Indian weddings. It is well-known all over the world that Indian weddings are steeped in ritual and tradition, while also frequently being extravagant (you could even say over the top) and festive. Indian weddings are especially unique, not only compared to other religious weddings or civil ceremonies, but also compared to each other. No two weddings in India are exactly alike. This is because different Indian families of different regions and different ethnicities celebrate and honor the occasion, well, differently. Whether your family is from Punjab, Rajasthan, North India, South India or wherever else in the country, you likely have your own specific rituals and your own interpretations of them, aside from the personal ways a bride and groom would like to celebrate and make the day uniquely their own. Although this is the case, there are still common elements that you’ll find in most, if not all, Indian weddings.
Published in Oct 2021
How to wear the traditional sari with a touch of modern fashion trends?
How to wear the traditional sari with a touch of modern fashion trends? Traditional Indian fashion is one of the most interesting and colorful reminders of how it all started. Since the earliest days, Indian fashion has dominated and stood out with its uniqueness, originality, and eye-catching designs. The abundance of prints and colors were all perfectly combined to deliver pieces that will make every woman beautiful in its own way, and additionally, convey a message that could hold a religious and cultural meaning. As such, the sari has become the ultimate and must-have Indian fashion garment that is still very popular today. What makes the sari stand out from other clothes and fashion garments is the color options it comes in, combined with the long history of India, and with the addition of modern trends. As such, the sari today is the true representation of the beauty and the significance of how one traditional garment can survive the test of time.
Published in Oct 2021
The Evolution of Indian Sculptures in Bronze Age and Beyond
The Harappan civilization is marked by a large number of copper objects. Apart from making artefacts out of pure copper, Harappan craftsperson alloyed copper with arsenic, tin or nickel. Copper and bronze artefacts included vessels, spears, knives, short swords, arrowheads, axes, fish hooks, needles, mirrors, rings and bangles. Usually, tools like knives, axes and chisels, which needed hardened edges were alloyed. At Mohenjodaro, the number of bronze tools increased from six per cent to 23 per cent from the lower to the higher levels. One hoard found at Harappa consisted of a large cooking pot with a bronze cover. Inside were several copper tools. Seals were also made using Bronze as part of Harappan craft. Apart from utilitarian items made from Bronze and copper, a few pieces of metal sculpture have been found at Harappan sites. Two bronze female figurines were found at Mohenjodaro. One of them is the famous ‘dancing girl’. This figurine was made by the lost wax method. The sculpture represents a very thin woman standing with her right hand on the back of her hip and her left hand resting on her left thigh. Her arms are unnaturally long and she wears a necklace and 24-25 bangles on one hand. The ‘Dancing Girl’ from Mohenjodaro is perhaps the earliest bronze sculpture dated to 2500 BCE. Similarly, a hoard of bronze artefacts was discovered at Daimabad village stable to 1500 BCE. They reveal considerable casting skill and aesthetic finesse. These artefacts do not seem to have been utilitarian objects. They may have had a religious or ritualistic significance, and the fact that they were on wheels suggest that they were part of a procession. Metal figures of this kind have not been found elsewhere in India.
Published in Oct 2021
Buddhism in the West
Buddhism in the West The world is full of very varied expressions that fill the planet on which we live with color and diversity. These cultural expressions are very varied, therefore there are many varied peoples with very different characteristics such as languages, religions or traditions, but thanks to globalization and technology we also live in a more interconnected world, so we can learn more about other beliefs despite being very distant and Buddhism is a religion that has won the admiration of many people in the West, a place in the world where it has more and more followers. Why is Buddhism so popular with Westerners?
Published in Oct 2021
Nataraja – A figure of Apocalypse and Creation
Nataraja – A figure of Apocalypse and Creation “Nrttavasane Nataraja-rajo nanada dhakkam navapancavaram Uddhartukamah Sankadisiddhanetadvimarse Sivasutrajalam” (The silent Siva remains still (as Daksinamurti). But the same Siva (in another form of his) keeps dancing all the time and it was from his dance that the science of language was born.) Saivagama Tantras, the ritualistic sacred texts of Sadhana or devout single-pointed worship, devised an artistic form to which all human devotion can be directed — Nataraja, the supreme dancer. The form of Nataraja has been hailed as the highest concept of art. Ancient Saivites were known to practise a dance-drama at the famous Nataraja Temple of Chidambaram. In the holy month of Margazhi (December-January) in Tamil Nadu, on the day with the asterism Tiruvadirai, the Arudra festival is especially important to Lord Nataraja in all temples, particularly Chidambaram. Among the five elements, the subtlest space whose essence is sound, is represented by the Akasa Lingam in the temple dedicated to this concept, Chidambaram. Lord Nataraja personifies the descent from the subtlest as an act of creation and also the ascent from the grossest as an act of dissolution. Ananda Tandavam — the Blissful dance — is the dance of Nataraja of Chidambaram. Tirumoolar in his Tantra Tirumandiram refers to it as ‘Nadanta’ posture — the pinnacle of meditative bliss — even beyond the realm of unheard sound or Shiva Vyapti, the ultimate! The dance hall is Chit Akasha, the hall of Supreme Consciousness.
Published in Oct 2021
Depictions of Bodhisattva in different cultures
A reformation in Buddhism at the beginning of our era led to the formation of a new branch known as Mahayana Buddhism. It distinguished itself from the ego-oriented Theravada Buddhism (the original Buddhism), with its arhats (someone who attains salvation) and Pratyeka Buddha (someone who became an arhat without anyone’s help or guidance). The fellow-human oriented Mahayana Buddhism introduced the divine helpers or bodhisattvas who appear on the path to liberation. A bodhisattva is a being (sattva) who has reached enlightenment (bodhi), or nirvana, but who delays entry into parinirvana out of compassion for muddle-headed humanity. Bodhisattvas help people and guide the deceased to heaven. The concept of Bodhisattva was founded upon a significant event in Gautama Buddha’s life. When Siddharta left his home, he had wanted to take his son Rahula with him. But he couldn't do it as the mother’s hand lay protectively over the child. After many years of the inward storm, he won his reconciliation with life when he rediscovered the depth of humanity in that protecting gesture of the mother’s hand even in sleep. And so he said, “As a mother protects her only son, so let every one cultivate a boundless compassion towards all that has life.” It is this great and enduring compassion that shifts the emphasis from the Hinayana (Theravada Buddhism) ideal of Arhat who seeks enlightenment for himself to that of the Bodhisattva who does not cease striving till the whole world is guided by him towards enlightenment. As long as there is suffering, the bodhisattvas will remain. Here let us look at some of the important bodhisattvas and their depiction in various cultures.
Published in Oct 2021
Celestial Beauty Captured in Brass: Apsaras in Mythology
The apsaras are the celestial nymphs living in svargaloka (heaven). They perhaps got their name since they are supposed to move among waters, among the clouds. Their main work is to please Indra the lord of the gods, by dancing and singing. Indra often deputes them to seduce the sages engaged in severe austerities, since they may become more powerful than himself if they succeed. They are said to have been born out of the milk ocean when it was churned by the gods and demons to get nectar. According to other versions they were born out of the palm of Brahma the creator. They are too numerous to be listed. Urvasi, rambha, menaka, and tilottama are the most prominent among them. They are closely associated with the demigods known as Gandharvas. Popular Buddhism has adopted some of them in its mythological lore.
Published in Oct 2021
Bomkai Art – Where Simplicity meets Extravagance
Bomkai Art – Where Simplicity meets Extravagance Odisha is considered as one of the major handloom concentrated states in India and it’s handloom products are recognized all over the country and abroad for their highly artistic and intricate designs, color combination and durability even today. Bomkai Silk Sarees and dress materials are very famous in all over India for its excellent workmanship, design and color combination. The handloom originated from a small village called Bomkai in Patrapur Tahsil of Ganjam district and originally it was woven with coarser cotton yarn. The characteristic of this traditional Bomkai lies in stepping and shaft formula and regular motif remains the same in any composition. The uniqueness is that there is no fixed layout for the Anchal panels developed by extra weft in various colors. The Bhulia community of Sonepur district primarily produced this kind of embroidered saree. It originated during the time of the then ruler of Patna Ramai Dev. Such Bomkai sarees come with buti and temple borders. Woven on a pit loom, Bomkai, which is also known as Sonepuri, is an extraordinary fabric that results from the confluence of two extremely popular components of the Orissa textile industry. In its simplest, Bomkai can be explained as an extra weft technique on a pit loom. It is an outcome of Ikat and embroidery interwoven into each other. The borders are often in contrasting colors and the pallus marked by intricate threadwork. The motifs on the Bomkai are inspired from nature and tribal art, giving the saree a fascinating look that makes it perfect for aristocracy. Bomkai sarees are available in cotton and silk fabrics.
Published in Oct 2021
The Evolution of Indian Sculptures
Does a dull, slightly blackened piece of a metal artefact lie in a corner of your room? Well, I have seen a lot of houses with such a scenario. When asked they say “it lost its shine and is no longer of aesthetic beauty.” The fact is that it still has its shine. It's only a matter of polishing it nicely before it will turn into its bright gold-yellowish colour and spread its beauty and charm in the room. Yes, we are talking about brass here, a highly underrated metal in present times. But did you know that brass had a glorious past in India, in fact worldwide, a past wherein it was put into use for making everything from household utensils to guns and canons? Let us briefly look at how important a role brass played in the development of Indian culture and society. Brass was a commonly used alloy in India as early as the first century B.C. Brass articles of the first century B.C. or A.D. have been found on the excavation of ancient stupas. General Excavation of stupas at Manikyalaya revealed a copper box enclosing a brass cylindrical box cast and beautifully turned on the lathe. The great tope at Manikyalaya has been identified to be a mausoleum of the Indo-Scythian King Kanishka (first century B.C. or A.D.). Another inscribed brass urn of the same date as the former has been discovered in a tope about 30 miles west of Kabul in the district of Wardak. This was similar to the ordinary water vessels used in India.
Published in Oct 2021
The Glory of Jamawars of Kashmir
The Glory of Jamawars of Kashmir The glory, and the colors of nature captured skillfully on cloth characterize the famous Jamawars of Kashmir. "Jama" means robe and "war" is yard. King and nobles bought the woven fabric by the yard, wearing it as a gown or using it as a wrap or shawl. The base of the Jamawar was always wool-with perhaps addition of a little cotton. The brocaded parts were woven in silk or pashmina. Most of the designs were floral, with the kairy or paisley as the predominant motif. The art of weaving a Jamawar was painstaking and intricate one. Several kannis or little wooden shuttles of different colors were used for a single weft line of the fabric. Upto 50 colors could be worked into one shawl-the most popular colors being zard (yellow), sufed (white), mushki (black), ferozi (turquoise), ingari (green), uda (purple), gulnar (crimson) and kirmiz (scarlet). Months of hard work went into the preparation for each Jamawar, with not more than an inch being added per day in a 48-inch width of material. Elegance, luxury, sophistication and class. These are but a few of the adjectives that describes the Jamawar Art. Jamawar & Tanchoi are satin weave techniques where the motifs are created using the primary weft itself creating an inlaid look, unlike a brocade, which uses supplementary warp or weft to create the motifs. In industry jargon, we use the term Jamawar when the motifs feature more than one color, while Tanchois usually feature single color motifs. Often the patterns and colors in a Jamawar are more subtle and create an old-world-charm. Predominantly a silk-only weave, we sometimes also throw in some zari in the body or borders to create cross-over fabric that offer the best of both Jamawar and Brocade weaves in the same product.
Published in Oct 2021
Lord Hanuman – A Prototype of the Ideal Worshipper
Lord Hanuman – A Prototype of the Ideal Worshipper Hanuman, the ancient monkey-divinity of India: for many, he represents the force of life in man's struggle to exist. He is most known for his devotion to the god-king Rama, and for his exploits as leader of the monkey army that helped save Rama's princess from the demon-king of Lanka. Yet in northern parts of the country, Hanuman is a god of great importance in his own right. There he is worshiped as the epitome of strength and vitality; popular legends associate him not so much with the self-restrained Rama as with Siva, possessor of creative and destructive energy. Hanuman is well known throughout India-rural and urban, north and south. He appears in much Sanskrit and vernacular dramatic literature, and in epic poems; he is the central hero of many folk stories, and a popular subject of village plays and dances. His likeness in stone and wood adorns many shrines. Brightly coloured pictures of him are hawked in city streets and pasted to the walls of homes and shops. In his honour, monkeys are fed in the precincts of many temples. Whether as Hanuman or as Mahavira ("Great Hero") he is known to almost every Hindu-children and adults, literate and illiterate alike. The word Hanuman is derived from two Sanskrit words ‘Hanu’ and ‘Man’. While the word ‘Hanu’ means jaw, ‘Man’ means disfigured. Hanuman was called so because he had a disfigured jaw right from his childhood. Another version, found in Jain texts, indicates that the name was derived from the island "Hanuruha", where Hanuman spent his childhood.
Published in Oct 2021
Indian Formal Wear for Women and Men
Have you ever looked at a piece of Indian fabric like a saree, a lehenga, or a Sherwani and marveled at the flowing cuts, ornate designs, hand-crafted patterns, texture of the fabric, and unique motifs? Well, if not, you have missed out on appreciating some of the most unique and magnificent works of art in the world. Yes, indeed, Indian textiles can be considered as a piece of art without a doubt. The artistic finesse in our rich embroidery, prints, and motifs is something that is otherwise found only on paintings or sculptures. Indian ethnic wear has received international attention in recent pasts due to its innovation in various aspects, including a blend of western and indigenous trends. The gaining popularity of Indian attire can be attributed to the fact that it is suitable for any event or occasion, be it religious events, weddings, parties, casual or formal wear. Our fabrics incorporate rich hues and have bright and beautiful patterns which are ideal for any opulent ceremony. But we also have simple kurta, salwar kameez, etc, which are equally graceful, but more subtle and formal which can be worn casually or to workspaces.
Published in Sep 2021
Baluchari Art – Intricate Weaves and Visual Narratives
Baluchari Art – Intricate Weaves and Visual Narratives Comprising saris, shawls and handkerchiefs, this textile is probably the only woven narrative in India. Every piece holds an interesting story in its folds — the lavish lifestyles of Nawabs and European sahibs and bibis. Though much is not known about its origins and also why the tradition stopped, over the years an effort has been made to revisit and revive Baluchari. The Baluchari saree was one of the National Award winners among the main weaving styles in the year 2009 and 2010 presented by the then President of India. hrough time, the visual language of textiles has offered up vital clues to the prevailing social contexts, to ideas of what was desirable and fashionable, to the economy and the body politic that was significant at their time of production and use. Examples abound from the late-16th-century woven Vrindavan Vastra with its images inspired from the Hindu text of the Bhagavata Purana, and on to today’s graphic t-shirts this widespread means of communication continues to endure. The late-19th-century pictorial Baluchari weave can be viewed through this prism of history and context with its enduring continuum echoing its past. The Baluchari sarees are known for their intricate designs and handwork on them. No other saree uses as many mythological designs as the Baluchari sarees. They are dominated by stories and characters from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. These characters give a royal look to the Baluchari sari. Saris depicting the story of Lord Krishna explaining the Bhagavad Gita to Arjun is one of the most popular design of Baluchari Saree. The mythological designs make a Baluchari saree perfect for ceremonial and festive occasions which have a religious touch to it. They are distinguished for their elaborate borders and fabulous pallu. The borders are ornamental and surround Kalka motifs within it. A series of figures are designed in rows and motifs, which are woven diagonally. Mostly the motif designs are in four alternative colours on a shaded background.
Published in Sep 2021
Top 5 Women's Salwar Kameez that Must Be In their Wardrobe
It's not a disputed fact that women have the luxury of lots of options to choose from when it comes to wearing an outfit. From our traditional sarees and Lehengas to suits, there is a wide range of female attire in India. There are many different kinds of clothing traditionally worn by Indian women, which are mostly associated with the local culture, religion, and climate which makes the list really vast! Indian fashion is known for its unique and ethnic types of garb. The most common and most popular outfit that we have is undoubtedly the Salwar Kameez. Just like the famous saree, it is traditional attire that can go from simple and comfortable to intricate and decorative. Even among Salwar Kameez, you will have a wide variety to choose from, from Anarkali to Jacket style Salwar kameez. Confusing again, right? So let's look at five Salwar Kameez that must definitely be in your wardrobe.
Published in Sep 2021
Looking To Buy Indian Art? Here Are Some Tips Worth Considering
India has a rich history to boast about with regard to arts and paintings. Paintings have always been an integral part of our culture for centuries. It is only through stories woven in artwork that we know so much about our heritage today. From the prehistoric cave paintings to the modern Indian paintings these have changed and evolved to a large extent. Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh, discovered and explored only in 1957, is one of the richest sources of primitive art in the world, with paintings that come right into the historic period. In the Ajanta caves, we can find locales, figures, and episodes of the Jataka stories. The Ajanta artists showed themselves capable of depicting the most moving scenes in the life of Buddha with a classic restraint that has won them a place among the most expressive paintings in the world. The mural traditions and miniature paintings also evolved in the sixth to the eleventh century which is also symbols of great artistic creations.
Published in Sep 2021
Batik Paintings – The Javanese Wax Resistant Fibre Art
Batik Paintings – The Javanese Wax Resistant Fibre Art Batik painting is a highly beautiful and an ancient art form. Batik paintings represent a highly unique form of art involving various figures and patterns drawn on the pieces of fabrics. These paintings are believed to have originated in Indonesia wherein the original word referred to the dots on clothes. Batik represents the wax-resist dye technique, used in textiles. This art is believed to be more than one thousand years old. Batik art work is widely practised in regions like Java (Indonesia) and India. India is known for its rich tradition in Batik paintings and truly exquisite works of Batik art continue to be procured from different regions of India. From the Javanese origin the word batik is taken. The word 'ambatik' means to mark with spots or dots. In a wider sense, it signifies drawing, painting or writing. The word batik is derived from the Javanese word 'amba' which means write and 'tik' which means a dot. In October 2009, the UNESCO has acknowledged batik art as a “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.
Published in Sep 2021
Bandhani –The Tie and Die Art since Time Immemorial
Bandhani –The Tie and Die Art since Time Immemorial Bandhej & Lehriya (implying Tie and Dye), a form of resist dyeing, is a technique of patterning fabric by tying parts of it in different ways to prevent the penetration of dyes. Bandhani comes from the Sanskrit word, ‘bandh’ which means to tie. This craft is one of the oldest in the world for making coloured designs on a fabric. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points in various colors, thus producing a variety of patterns like Bandhni, Lehriya, Mothda, Ekdali and Shikari depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. There is a magical quality about Bandhini: vibrant colours, arresting combinations, dramatic swirls and twirl – “Bandhini” derives its name from the Hindi word Bandhan which means ties, relation and therefore tying up. It is an antique art generally practiced mainly in Western India. Bandhani is being sold all over India and the demand has increased over the past few decades. Sales go up during the festive and wedding seasons in India. Majority of the market is domestic. If talking in terms of International demand, Safas and turbans of various kinds are more popular. It is generally believed that ‘Tie & Dye’ method began almost 5000 years before! Again, it is another assumption that it was during the reign of King Harshacharita, ‘Bandhani’ saree was donned initially and the occasion was a regal wedding. It is also presumed that the method of ‘Tie & Dye’ was customary at the time of Tang Dynasty rule in China and at the time of Nara in Japan.
Published in Sep 2021
Kalamkari – The Art Comprising Giant Tapestries to Small Squares
Kalamkari – The Art Comprising Giant Tapestries to Small Squares Amongst the Indian textile tradition, the simple cotton Kalamkari fabric had a greater impact and revolutionised the garment trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. The vibrant jewel-bright colours, printed and painted, caught the fancy of women in England and France and became the fashion for daily wear. Kalamkari fabrics, dubbed as chintz, by the English traders, formed a major part of the trade of the East India Company. Kalamkari is an ancient Indian art that originated about 3000 years ago. It derives its name from Kalam meaning Pen, and Kari meaning work, literally Pen-work. The Kalamkari artist uses a bamboo or date palm stick pointed at one end with a bundle of fine hair attached to this pointed end to serve as the brush or pen. These paintings were earlier drawn on cotton fabric only, but now we can see these paintings on silk and other materials as well. Centuries ago, folk singers and painters used to wander from one village to other, narrating stories of Hindu mythology to the village people. But with course of time, the process of telling tales transformed into canvas painting and that’s when Kalamkari art first saw the light of day. The Kalamkari art includes both, printing and painting. Kalam, means a pen, and the art of freehand line forms the base of Kalamkari designs. The function of a painting was to convey a story, and the artists were well versed in iconography and stories of the epics. The colours used were to depict a mood, for example, rajas (a violent emotion) was painted in red and sattvic emotions were done in white and yellow. The Islamic culture took a larger synthesis of this art form and their inherent love for natural motifs surfaced in the Kalamkari fabrics of that time. The lotus, the palm, the mango, the peacock and the elephant motifs intermingled and blended in their design.
Published in Sep 2021
Navratri Festival
Navratri Festival The Navratri Festival is right around the corner with the most prominent celebration taking place this year from the seventh until the fifteenth of October. What is the Navratri Festival you may ask? The Hindu festival of Navratri is celebrated for nine nights and ten days. The word Navratri itself has quite a literal meaning. It comes from the Sanskirt words Nava, which means nine, and ratri, which means nights. According to a few Hindu texts, including the Vaishnava Puranas and the Shakta, there are actually two or four seasons where Navratri is celebrated. Two of these are specifically known as the Sharada Navaratri and the Vasanta Navaratri. The most prominent and observed of the Navratri festivals is the Sharada Navaratri, which is celebrated near the autumn equinox, in the months of September or October, referred to in the Hindu calendar as the months of Ashbin and Ashwayuja respectively. Regardless of the specific time of year that the Navaratri is celebrated, all of the festivals celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and specifically, are in honor of the noble Hindu goddess Durgu and her victory over the malicious Mahishasura.
Published in Sep 2021
Yoga / Palazzo Pants
Yoga / Palazzo Pants Yoga pants may be part of this generation’s everyday uniform but way before activewear and athleisure wear became fashion must-haves, yoga pants were already an intrinsic part of the Indian lifestyle. The contemporary yoga pants that are popular today are known for their ultra-fitted, figure hugging style. They’re usually made of stretch fabric that encases one’s legs like leggings and allows for easy movement. However, traditional yoga pants were actually the very opposite in fit. As we all know, the yoga practice involves a lot of body flow and transitioning from one position to the next. Whether you’re doing a lotus pose, a downward facing dog, a handstand scorpion or any other position in between, you need clothing that won’t hamper your flow and interrupt not only your movement, but also distract your frame of mind. When doing yoga, one therefore needs to wear clothing that will enable and support this type of free movement, providing both ease, comfort, and calm.
Published in Sep 2021
Anklets
Anklets When thinking of jewelry, one always immediately considers what earrings, necklace, bracelet and rings to wear. However, beyond the most common categories of jewelry, body jewelry includes styles that one should not overlook. The anklet, in particular, is one style that is subtle yet sexy and actually steeped in history. Beyond a common accessory or piece of jewelry, in Indian culture, anklets actually have a lot of meaning. Also known as a payal in hindi, the piece of jewelry that fits around the ankle is worn by married Indian women, usually on the left ankle. In fact, it is traditionally gifted to a newly married Indian woman upon first arriving at her new husband’s home. However, anklets aren’t actually only reserved for married women. Unmarried women also wear anklets. For single women, the piece of jewelry is a symbol of both their bravery and pride. Wearing one on the right ankle could also signify that the woman is in search of a partner.
Published in Sep 2021
Indian Sari
A quintessential item of Indian fashion is undoubtedly the Sari. In fact, when considering Indian style, the first thing that many often think of is the sari. The word “sari” itself comes from the Sanskrit word “sati”, which means strip of cloth. From the very meaning of the word, the Indian sari, which can also be spelled as “saree”, is one long piece of cloth, which is unstitched and usually measures between four and a half to nine yards long and twenty-four to forty-seven inches wide. Now, a sari is not just any simple piece of cloth. Saris come in a wide range of eye-catching colors, and striking designs that often feature various prints, embroideries and embellishments, and are made of different fabrics. There are said to be approximately thirty different regional varieties of Saris in India. The nation’s well-known tradition and expertise in dyeing, printing and silk weaving fabrics all come alive in the countless saris worn by women in India and beyond the country’s shores.
Published in Sep 2021
Green Tara: The mother of liberation
Buddhism is full of unique religious expressions, in which faith combines with culture to shape all those beliefs that make up this ancient religion. Within Buddhism there are many deities with special characteristics that are worthy of veneration by believers; whether they are from Hinduism or other beliefs, these deities are important and the rituals to worship them are always present. That is why deities such as Tara, a goddess with many forms in which the green Tara stands out, is important to Buddhists, as this divine mother has qualities such as helping you achieve success and get ahead.
Published in Sep 2021
Mehendi
No one does body art like in India, where the craft has existed for thousands of years. Mehendi or Mehndi, as it’s also known, is the ancient form of temporary body art or skin decoration. In fact, the tradition goes so far back that archeologists have found mummies with forms of Mehendi on their hands. You could say that it’s the early ancestor of today’s common tattoo but one that isn’t permanent. In Western cultures, the temporary skin art is widely known as the henna tattoo. Unlike permanent tattoo ink, Mehendi is applied on the skin using a paste that’s derived from the crushed dried leaves of the henna plant. Hence its western name. A paintbrush, gold rod, plastic cone, toothpick or stick are the usual tools used to apply the paste onto the skin. While the color of the paste is usually a dark brown, it can also vary in shade with Mehendi sometimes applied in red color tones.
Published in Sep 2021
Temple Jewelry
As the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. However, in India, well, it often is. A magnificent part of Indian culture is traditional Indian jewelry. Imagine intricately formed, ornate gold adorned with the most stunningly brilliant gemstones, pearls, and diamonds. There are actually three major classifications of traditional Indian jewelry. There’s bridal jewelry, spiritual jewelry, and, last but not least, temple jewelry. The origins of temple jewelry can be traced back to South India in particular. From the ninth century until the sixteenth century, the region of South India was ruled by the Chola, Pandya, and Krishnadeva Raya dynasties, who were all fine jewelry connoisseurs. Ruling for such a long period of time, temple jewelry became an intrinsic part of both religious and cultural tradition.
Published in Sep 2021
How To Style A Dupatta Scarf In The Modern Age
The dupatta scarf is one of the most highly decorated scarf types made of delicate materials and luxurious detailing. The length alone makes it breathable for movement, while allowing for easy pinning to create different looks. It’s more than just a square cloth, with both devout and sentimental meaning. In this article, we dive into the symbolism, design and styling of this diverse cut of fabric! A brief history of the dupatta scarf A dupatta is a traditional headscarf (usually worn over the shoulders), within Asian cultures including Indian, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Dupatta is a combination of two Sanskrit words which means two or double (du) and (patta), which means piece of clothing. The earliest remembrance can be dated back to Indus Valley civilization, when they were worn by both men and women. Males mostly wore their scarves to symbolize royalty and were mainly used to cover the upper body area. Over time, the dupatta scarf was geared more towards the seclusion of women within the social hierarchy. Majority of women not only covered their upper with a scarf, they rarely showcased bare legs. The delicate fabric has also been used as a way to show respect for elders within families, while keeping the look of modesty.
Published in Sep 2021
Banarasi Sari
Not all saris are created equal. In the world of Indian saris, the Banarasi Sari is in a class of its own. In fact, a few years ago, the Banarasi Sari was granted Geographical Indication rights, which distinguishes a product as originating from a particular region, where superior quality, excellence, renown, and distinct characteristics are associated with that specific location. This means that, much like Champagne must come from the Champagne region of France in order for it to be actually called Champagne, a sari must meet certain characteristics and be produced within the six districts of Uttar Pradesh in order for it to be rightfully called a Banarasi Sari. So, what makes the Banarasi Sari so special? First, it’s important to understand its history. Banarasi Saris originate from the city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras, which is, naturally, within the region of Uttar Pradesh, India. It was during the Mughal period in the 14th century when the art of intricate weaving began to flourish in the city. During those times, the exquisite silk of the Banarasi Sari was exclusively crafted for royalty and was woven using genuine gold and silver threads. It could often take as long as one year in order to handcraft these silks. Suffice it to say, when it came to garments, the Banarasi Sari represented the pinnacle of quality craftsmanship, luxury, and extravagance.
Published in Sep 2021
10 Ways to Style Indian Stone Jewelry
Indian stone jewelry is beautifully decorated and available in various stone and precious metal types. Sterling silver, amethyst, and citrine stone jewelry are a few of many gems seen adorning the runways of Indian Fashion Week 2021. From chandelier earrings to choker style necklaces, adding bold indian accessories isn’t a challenge. Keep reading to learn how you can achieve high fashion looks by creating casual and evening outfits with indian stone jewelry! Add a collar necklace with an embroidered skirt and dupatta A collar-style necklace is the perfect way to accentuate your neckline. This look also allows you to skip earrings and bracelet accessories, since the intricate detailing of your necklace will become the focal point. You can add a full skirt with a ruffle hem and an all-over embroidered design. This indian stone accessory works best with lighter, neutral colors against darker colors, like white and blue. You can wear your hair in a sweet half up, half down hairstyle and light makeup. For a royal touch, add a matching, sheer dupatta scarf!
Published in Sep 2021
Meet Jhumka – The History of Indian Earrings
If you’ve ever attended a wedding or special occasion, then the chances are that you saw dozens of women wearing jhumka. They’re a style of earrings popular on the Indian subcontinent and hold a cultural significance, dating back to the Mughal Empire. Jewelry is the ultimate form of self-expression and an opportunity to reconnect with your heritage through a form of living art. You can find jhumka earrings in almost every shape and style, each incorporating the signature bell shape into the design. No woman’s jewelry box is complete without a pair of jhumka earrings. These timeless earrings double as an ornament, giving you a statement piece that is sure to be the center of attention wherever you go.
Published in Sep 2021
The Heritage and Evolution of Pattachitra Paintings
Paintings are one of the oldest forms of storytelling in the world. Pattachitra art is one of the oldest forms of art from Pattachitra – giving the artform its name. This art style was used to depict images of Hindu mythological stories and fascinating characters. You can spot Pattachitra art with its distinctive bold colors and Italian craftsmanship. If you want to add a unique piece of Indian art to your home, there is nothing better to choose than a Pattachitra painting. These paintings incorporate Indian customs, rituals, and values in a unique and beautiful way that celebrates the Hindu faith and religion. This traditional art has evolved to appear in clothing and accessories, becoming living art that you can incorporate into your everyday life.
Published in Sep 2021
The History of Pashmina Shawls
Is there anything more beautiful than a pashmina shawl? No two styles are the same, with a spectrum of colors and infinite designs to choose from. Pashmina shawls take their name from Pashmina goats that reside high in the mountains of Nepal and across India and Tibet. The word ‘pashmina’ comes from ‘pashm’, meaning ‘inner layer of hair’. These scarves add a sense of luxury to your everyday life. While one human hair is 75 microns thick, normal cashmere is typically 20 microns. What makes pashmina cashmere so luxurious is that it is 12 microns thick, meaning it is 6 times finer than the typical human hair. It takes around three goats to produce enough hair for a pashmina shawl.
Published in Sep 2021
10 Must-Have Traditional Handmade Bedspreads from India
Ethnic traditional bedspreads from India are full of vibrant colors! This makes it easy to add a touch of culture to your room decor. Traditional Indian quilting dates back as early as the 17th century, when the technique was used to make clothing such as hunting coats. Usually made from chintz fabric, which was dyed and painted cotton, each was made with running stitches. Originally made to carry babies, kantha quilts specifically are a popular Indian style bedspread. Made from cotton or silk, they adorn patterns of flowers and birds. They have a soft feel due to the intention of creating each quilt from cotton saris. Lep Kanthas, a different type of quilt, are made of 7 layers and usually have geometric designs and patterns. There's also Sujni quilts that are mostly used for guests. Between vibrant colors and intricate prints, these homemade bedspreads from India will satisfy your eclectic home decor needs.
Published in Sep 2021
A Journey Into Handloom weaving
This article is for handloom users keen to understand more about the process and those interested in exploring handlooms for the first time. We would like to acquaint you with the different stages in the process, where individual fibres come together to become beautiful fabrics and how you can distinguish pure handloom from imitations. Knowing handlooms also allows you to understand the challenges industry is facing in current times. This journey into the handloom world, we hope, will enable you to better enjoy and appreciate these fabrics. 1. In Cotton Cotton was traditionally the single largest natural fibre used in clothing. Today India occupies the second position in cotton production in the world. Many varieties of cotton were produced in our country, the majority being the short staple variety which is ideal for hand spinning. We have moved away from growing short staple varieties but still produce good amounts of cotton both for domestic use and for export. Heavy use of pesticide has led to many problems and now there is a shift to organic farming Over 500 indigenous varieties of cotton were grown in India in the past. Today, we grow less than 20 varieties
Published in Aug 2021
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