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Elegant Married Couple From Sikkim

Elegant Married Couple From Sikkim

The kho is the signature dress of the Sikkimese people. It is a long, loose, flowing garment that is draped around the body and belted in place at the neck and the waist. The adorably miniature ones draped on this handsome doll-couple are the more elegant varieties of men's and women's kho, worn to traditional festivals and gatherings. The garment is supposed to cover the legs when draped by women, while men team a shorter hemline with trousers. The dolls you see on this page are a married couple, as could be gauged from the pangden that cascades down from the lady's waist: it is the vernacular word for the striped silk garment that married women use to tie over their khos, indicative of their marital status.

The two of them make a young, elegant couple. The husband has teamed his shimmering dark gold kho with a solid pastel yellow shirt, while the wife wears a full-sleeved blouse in red underneath her embroidered red kho. Designers of traditional khos usually turn to local foliage for motifs to embroider these gorgeous garments. Both the dolls are wearing dark velvet hats that are wide-rimmed, indicating that they may be from one of the northern villages where drizzling snow is a common phenomenon. Tall leather boots is the traditional footwear of choice for both men and women, even though in this case the lady is in gleaming leather pumps. This pair would make for a unique, expressive piece of home decor.

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The Striking Banjara Woman, Looking Out Into The Distance

The Striking Banjara Woman, Looking Out Into The Distance

A striking Banjara woman forms the subject of this oil. She is tall, as could be made out from the length of her decolletage and torso; and dressed in minimal clothing to beat the merciless North Indian heat as she goes about her chores around the house. Her roseate skin, as much of it as is exposed, shimmers in the sun. Her rich black hair, which she had thrown into a ponytail prior to starting housework for the day, is now in a tousled mess. In fact, a few of the younger strands from her hairline have escaped through the band of her mangteeka and reached down to her temple and cheek. As is the norm with these desert tribeswomen, she is dressed in chunky silver jewellery to match the sequins on her ghagra-choli - a statement necklace with a pendant that grazes her navel, amulets and bangles, bunched up danglers, and gem-studded hair ornaments.

She stands at the threshold of her bamboo hut, moments before stepping in after a round of chores in the courtyard. Something has caused her to pause, as she looks out into the distance with those intense, kohl-rimmed eyes. Perhaps she is waiting to watch her makeshift fields crop before her eyes (makeshift, because jhuming or slash-and-burn cultivation is how Banjaras subsist), a surreal prospect; or her husband is working on the cultivated patch, and she is trying to gauge from his body language whether he is returning to her any time soon. How realistic is the stance of her fingers - especially as she grips the shoot next to her - and the fold of the loosely knotted ghagra against the raised thigh, with its exposed sweep of skin.

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Jester-Red Handcrafted Decorative Jewel Wall Hanging with Intricate Zardozi Hand-Embroidered Flower Pot

Jester-Red Handcrafted Decorative Jewel Wall Hanging with Intricate Zardozi Hand-Embroidered Flower Pot

For those of who identify on the minimalist side, home decor could be a tricky domain to apply oneself to. You do not want to splurge on a tonne of merchandise that would later qualify as junk, but rather invest in a few key pieces each of which would make a distinctive statement. The wall-hanging you see on this page has been handpicked to go into the latter category. It comprises of a foundation of gorgeous red velvet. The same has been superimposed luxuriant zardozi, a technique of embroidery that is both ancient and unique. A work of art as powerful as this would make your guests stop dead in their tracks and function as an amazing conversation-starter.

From a tall, slender vase, the kind that would probably have been used to adorn the Mughal court, emerges a shock of beauteous foliage. The velvet had been stretched on a wooden stand, and a needle has been used to work - with both hands - the statement gold string onto the fabric. Note the plethora of sequins and semi-precious gemstones that have been incorporated into the complex embroidery, zooming in on which would allow you to truly appreciate the skill and labour that have gone into the finished piece.

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Faceted Onyx Danglers With Cascading Silver Bulbs

Faceted Onyx Danglers With Cascading Silver Bulbs

A most elegant piece of jewellery in green onyx, you cannot go wrong with these danglers. Green onyx is an unusual gemstone, given that the onyx as a birthstone is usually black. Its green variation is an amplification of its spiritual properties - it is meant to soothe the wearer's intrinsic turmoil. Teamed with sterling silver in these bunched-up danglers, the faceted greenness of the onyx would have a calming effect on the onlooker. Zoom in on the superbly smithed onyx petals that would sit pretty against your lobes, glittering as you motion your head.

From the five-petalled green onyx flower emerges a cascade of glistening silver bulbs. The first row of bulbs is held in place by a horizontal silver band, the next by miniscule silver loops, while the third and smallest row has been designed to exude full dangling glamour. It would give off the soft, susurrous sound of silver touching silver as the bulbs gently collide from time to time. These danglers are best teamed with a traditional ensemble, such as a neutral coloured evening gown or a gorgeous green Indian saree/suit.

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Tribhang Murari Chaturbhujadhari Krishna, With The Towering Kirtimukha Crown

Tribhang Murari Chaturbhujadhari Krishna, With The Towering Kirtimukha Crown

The most relatable of the Vishnu-avataras, the most widely loved deity of the Hindu pantheon. There is no way the heart of the spiritually inclined would not turn to Lord Krishna. Here He is in the iconic silhouette of the tribhang murari, which is Sanskrit for 'flute-player (murari) with the body jutting out (bhang) in three (tri) places'. In addition to the shoulder, the hip, and the ankle, the cascading sashes of the dhoti and the extended rays of His halo add harmony to the brass composition. His roopa is the very epitome of youth - tall stature, long limbs, luscious musculature. No wonder He was the blue-eyed boy of Vrindavan, especially with the young gopis whose hearts uncontrollably went out to Him.

This work speaks volumes about the personal devotion of the artisan. The Lord is shown to be wearing a gorgeous silk dhoti and sashes. The rest of Him is bedecked with a world of shringar, which gather against His skin in lifelike angles. One of the unusual aspects of this tribhang murari depiction of Lord Krishna is the fact that He is chaturbhujadhari (four-armed). His smoothly carved feet rest on the typical dual-lotus arrangement found at the feet of Indian deities (two lotuses with their pistils brought together), which in turn is placed on a multi-tiered quadrilateral pedestal. The same is engraved with rangoli-esque motifs, the lateral trappings set off by leonine figurines that are miniscule but majestic. The twoering kirtimukha crown of the Lord completes the composition.

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Homages To The Twenty-One Taras, From Ancient Indian Tantric Texts

Homages To The Twenty-One Taras, From Ancient Indian Tantric Texts

If this thangka were to be an aural experience, as opposed to the visual aid that it is, it would translate to the sound of om tare tuttare ture svaha. It is the mantra of the central figure, the gorgeous Green Tara, who is born of the tears of Avalokiteshvara. Hence She is the embodiment of His compassion, floating in a sea of silks and petals. She is surrounded by twenty-one Tara Devis, each of whom has been expounded in early Indian Tantric texts. These Taras are very important to the singular mandala offering made in monasteries to Green Tara - it is a complex visualisation of the whole universe, in all its beauty and perfection, as an offering to Her.

The name of the Devi is derived from the Sanskrit root of the verb that means 'to ferry across'. So Green Tara is the saviouress, She ferries the devotee across the ocean of samsara to nirvana. She reaches out to us to enable us to transcend the world as we know it, the very picture of Enlightenment in a form that is relatable and beauteous. She is none of and more than the numerous Taras that you could see on this thangka, each with Her own aureole, seated in poorna-padmasana and dressed in raiment fit for the otherworldly devis. They look down at us with infinite compassion and patience, no matter who you choose to fixate on at any given point in time.

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Jet-Black Wedding Long Anarkali Suit with Golden Embroidery and Zardosi Patch

Jet-Black Wedding Long Anarkali Suit with Golden Embroidery and Zardosi Patch

Every woman should have that one statement Anarkali suit in her wardrobe. This style of Indian suits gained a following with the advent of Hindi films depicting Mughal court life (a name or two would come to the minds of all who have a thing for Indian cinema), and derive their name from the iconic nautch-girl who dared to love the prince. In ethnic fashion today they are typified by the accentuating bust, from which cascade volumes of floor-length skirts contained by the thick, red, richly embroidered hemline.

This gorgeous ballgown-esque Anarkali suit is just the thing to wear to parties and gatherings with a traditional spin. The dominant black colour sets the mood of the ensemble to one of reserved and overpowering elegance. The signature bust comprises of black meshwork over a fiery red, more of which is to be found in the embroidery on the full sleeves. Luxuriant patches of zardosi punctuate the ensemble at the waist, along the neckline, down the bust, and at the hems of the sleeves. Zoom in on the same to appreciate the beauty of the Persian-origin silverwork.

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The All-Encompassing Lord Vishnu, The Deity With Skin Like Dusk

The All-Encompassing Lord Vishnu, The Deity With Skin Like Dusk

The Hindu dharm is a complex religion; and Lord Vishnu, its most complex deity. Like all Hindu deities, He is boundless in influence, non-specific in character, and all-embodying as a concept. The form you see here is His parlokiya roopa (heavenly form): tall and handsome, chaturbhujadhari (four-armed) with the signature discus in one them and the conch in another, and a complexion of blue overtones. He is the most serene and compassionate of the devas, which applies to each of the avataras (bodily manifestations) He distills Himself into in order to descend to ihloka (earthly realm). From Narasimha and Parshurama to Krishna and Rama, what is common to each of His avataras is the dusky blue skin and the role of saviour for us mortals.

This murti of the Lord has been cast in bronze. India's bronze sculptural tradition dates back to the Pallava rule in the third century, when it started to produce icons for the magnificent temples of the South. With the later patronage of the Chola dynasty rulers, the skill to work with bronze truly flourished. Today, South India is the home of bronze, this one having been handpicked from Swamimalai. From the tapering crown that towers above His head to the inverted lotus pedestal He is on, this fne sculpture bears all the signs of authentic Southern workmanship. Note the lifelike portraiture of the digits as well as the spiritually engaging composure of countenance.

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The Pensive Elder Daughter-In-Law

The Pensive Elder Daughter-In-Law

It is an evening of ritual gathering and feasting at her home. Perhaps it is a pooja. The elder daughter-in-law of an affluent landowning family, as could be gleaned from the ample gold and jewels on her person, is looking on at the festive bustle. Moments ago, she had excused herself from the elders gathered there, probably on the pretext of briefly supervising the kitchen. She has stopped in the shadows of one of the doors leading into the arena, overcome by a strange womanly emotion. Her family is showing off the new younger daughter-in-law to the guests, which makes her remember her own initial days in the family. What she is feeling is a mix of fondness and envy and jealousy, the kind that only a woman's heart could contain all at the same time.

It is not likely that her younger counterpart is her equal in form. The elder daughter-in-law is an olive-skinned beauty, set off by the shimmering gold-bordered pink of the lehenga she has chosen for the occasion. Her eyes are a soft brown and large, their expression somewhat withdrawn. It is the raised brow and the subtly pursed mouth that betray the goings-on of her heart. It is the norm in large Indian families to fawn over the latest addition by marriage to the clan, in terms that could be either exalting or demeaning and even both. It is the attention being bestowed upon her that is making the subject of this painting a tad out of place. Perhaps she will take it out on her when they are engaged in domestic tasks together, by chiding her on some excusable pretext but also by helping her make herself at home.

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Statement Spikes Necklace With Spike Drop Earrings, Studded With Pink Gems

Statement Spikes Necklace With Spike Drop Earrings, Studded With Pink Gems

Temple jewellery is a thing in India. No other culture in the world has a whole branch of the complex art of jewellery-making devoted to spiritual life. Having evolved in South India, temple jewellery are those that are made especially with an icon of a deva or devi in mind. They are primarily designed to adorn the deities housed in the magnificent temples of the South. They are worn by the mortal devis of ihaloka, of course, to weddings and poojas; however, it is to a distinctive style and appeal that modern-day temple jewellery refers to.

Of that finish and make, this sterling silver set is a fine example. It consists of a three-tiered necklace of silver beads, from which a series of solid silver spikes jut out. It would look superbly elegant as it sits against your decolletage, teamed with those matching drop earrings. Each comprises of a couple of those identical silver spikes smithed together to drop from a complex silver stud. A brilliant pink gemstone of miniscule proportion has been studded at the head of each silver spike in the whole set, infusing to this ensemble a much-needed dash of femininity and colour.

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