Nose rings have through the ages been worn all over the world. The piercing of the nose is often of a ritual character. The reasons for wearing nose rings are manifold. Some aboriginal tribes used bone or boar tusks in order to appear fiercer to their enemies. Maya and Aztec nose rings were restricted to men and were used as signs of royalty.
The nose was and is a very important part of the body, piercing it is the therefore always of high significance for an individual or a community. In tribal societies nose rings can act as amulets to prevent evil spirits to enter the body. Modern youths may wear nose rings as a visual symbol of rebellion and to represent their individuality. In most cases however the nose as the most visible part of the face is decorated to enhance and brighten the individual appearance.
In India nose rings, introduced from the West in Muslim time, are holding an old jewellery tradition. It seems however that the sophisticated and eye-catching big Nath types, which were en vogue in the 20th century were not common before. More recently with the introduction of modern lifestyles the shape of nose rings was drastically reduced to small fashionable pins, larger nose rings being reserved to the wedding outfit. This book wants to preserve the memory of a bygone time and of the individual luxury of Indian women.
Waltraud Ganguly is a native German with a doctor's degree in medicine. She is married to an Indian with whom she has been exploring the Indian continent since over forty years. Her fascination for the symbol-loaded designs and the special techniques of the Indian folk jewellery made her write the present book as a guide to the typical Indian ornaments which are vanishing very fast from the common use under the economic, social and ideological changes of the last twenty years. By her documentation the author wants preserve the memory of India's artistic past and the crafts that created these work of art for the benefit of the future generations.
After publishing my book about Indian ear rings in 2007, I felt that it would be equally interesting to document the nose rings of India, which I have been collecting for many years. I realised however very soon that a similarly systematic listing as I had done for the ear rings was not possible for nose rings. So I decided to show at least the great variety and beauty of the Indian nose ornaments in a picture book.
Contrary to ear ornaments, there is hardly any reliable literature about nose rings in general and in India particularly. I therefore refrained from giving the cited sources right in the text, all the more since I had to rely on numerous Internet entries, of whose Trust worthiness I could not always be sure. The quotations and facts to which I have referred should therefore be taken cautiously; I was not always able to test them for their substance. For the interested reader there is a bibliography at the end of the book, of which I recommend mainly the printed sources.
Another problem lies in the nose rings themselves, which I could not always locate exactly. My knowledgeable Indian jeweller friends and I tried our best to give the nearest and most probable allocation, but there will be wrong decisions and I apologise for them. I hope that viewing the images will compensate for the unwanted scanty information.
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