As echelons of zillion lights adorn

With fragrance of flowers & array of colors

Effusing joys to abound with Pearls of gleams in these autumn nights

Let us thank the heavenly might,
In this festive season of lights

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Deepawali is a remarkably popular festival of India. Predominantly celebrated by the people of the Hindu community. Diwali is celebrated on Amavasya the 15th day of the fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin. It falls either in October or November month every year. It symbolizes the culture of India which teaches to conquer ignorance that subdues humanity and to dislodge the darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. The festival of Diwali is celebrated to summon love and prosperity in the house. 

Deepawali celebrates the triumph of the good over the evil as on this day the people of Ayodhya welcomed Lord Ram who had returned from 14 years of exile. The Hindu Lord Ram returned to his palace along with his brother Laxman and Sita ( his wife ). During the exile, Sita was abducted by evil Ravana. Later, The almighty lord ram defeated Ravana and rescued his wife. The whole Ayodhya was lit with diyas and burned crackers to celebrate their victory. Since the day every Indian family celebrates this festival with same enthusiasm and joy.

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It’s a customary practice in the Hindu community to light Diyas in their homes at evening as it signifies the surrender of one’s soul to the almighty Diwali.  A Diya is also a personification of the self as Diya is made up of Clay, which represents our body and it also constitutes a cotton wick and oil. The wick in the Diya depicts our ego. Oil or ghee in lamp depicts our vasanas or negative thoughts. As the lamp burns to emit light for all, the oil (vasanas) slowly starts to deplete, the wick(ego) also burns out.The flame of the Diya always burns upwards – inspiring us towards higher ideals Likewise, when we lit ourselves by enlighten of spiritual knowledge  (flame), the “vasanas” get slowly exhausted with ego and fade out completely. The peerless lamp is Sun as it only gives and asks for nothing. That is why it is called a devata – the one who gives.

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The Festival of Diwali welcomes a change of season and a change of mood with the bells of festivity and holy rituals around every corner. The farmer thanks the “ The Almighty” for the harvests and pray for a prosperous harvesting season in the forthcoming year as it marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of winters. The traders after offering prayers to Lord Ganesha open a new book of accounts as it marks the beginning of the new financial year. India a country of unity in diversity is even diversified in beliefs when it comes to the celebration of Diwali each religion and state celebrates this festival with different notions and customs.

· Hindus – All Hindus celebrate Diwali as Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and victory over Ravan.

· Jains – They celebrate this festival as on this day Lord Mahavira attained Moksha (the liberation of the soul from karma and the cycle of life and death). The next day of Diwali is celebrated as New Year in Jainism.

·Sikhs – The festival of Diwali is celebrated by Sikhs since 1577 as the foundation stone of Golden Temple is placed on this day and also, the 6th of 10 gurus of Sikhism’s “Guru Hargobind” is released on this day along with 52 others who were detained in Gwalior Fort by Mughal emperor Jahangir.

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It even amazes me sometimes that a simple festival could hold so different meaning for so many people and how some stories are still unrevealed. The tag of Incredible India couldn’t be better suited to any country other than India. But, the series of stories still have few more stories to amaze you. Likewise different states hold different tradition to celebrate Diwali; however, the purpose of peace and happiness remain same for all.

Eastern India ( West Bengal, Kolkata, Odisha, Tripura, And Assam )

Most Indians worship goddess Lakshmi on Diwali. Here, Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja and the night of Diwali is considered as Night of Pitripurush(ancestors). They believe their ancestors descend on the day of Diwali from Heaven and to invite them they burn jute sticks and reiterate.

.“Badabadua ho Gandhara e as a aluaa e jaao baaisi pahacha e gadagadau thaao”(Meaning: oh!! our ancestors, seers and gods you came on the dark night of mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannatha!)

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Southern India ( Chennai, Banglore, and Hyderabad)

Diwali comes on Tamil month of Aipasi in south India. It starts from Dhanatrayodashi and extends till Yama Dwitiya. Dhanatroypdashi is just the other name of Dhanteras which is same as other places and the second day is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi which can be also called as Choti Diwali The third day is celebrated as Diwali also known as Kali chadus on this day they worship “ Kul Devi to cast off evil spirits but unlike other states they have different significance as the day before on “Naraka Chaturdashi” Lord Krishna killed the asura ( demon ) Naraksura and took the oil bath to get rid of Naraksura blood. To solemnize people start doing the same as they believe that on this day goddess Ganga consecrate the water and goddess Lakshmi will consecrate the oil. On Naraka Chaturdashi in some states, people create a paper-made effigy of Narakasura and filled it with the firecracker and burn it in the morning. The fourth-day Padwa also known as Bali Padyami and fifth-day Bhaiduj is also known as Yama Dwitiya is celebrated similarly to northern states.

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Western India ( Gujarat, Maharastra, and Rajasthan )

The celebration of Diwali commences a day before comparing to other states of India. Here, The first day is known as Vasubaras which they celebrate by worshipping cow and its calf – as it’s a symbol of mother and child love. The next day is Dhan Trayadashi or Dhanteras followed by Naraka Chaturdashi and a day after Lakshmi puja or Diwali Then Bali pratipada and Lastly, Bhai Bij which is also known as Bhai Doj in which sisters pray for the prosperity and happiness of their brothers.

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Northern India ( Delhi, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh )

The bells of the festive season start ringing for them with the sounds of crackers Dusshera which comes few weeks before Diwali. From where everyone started preparing for Diwali by painting and cleaning their homes, buying gifts and decorating their houses with lights for Diwali. But, the main chores start with Dhanteras in which people worship Lord Kubera (The God of wealth ) and also buy gold and silver ornaments or utensils in order to bring luck and prosperity in their homes. Followed by Choti Diwali where people decorate their houses with diyas and rangoli and offer prayers to their God. The next day is celebrated as Diwali in which people in invite friends and family to exchange presents and sweets and also to pray along with everyone for happiness peace and prosperity. The fourth day people do Goverdhan Puja and next day celebrate Bhai-duj.

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Whatever may be the eccentric philosophies or customs associated with the celebration of Diwali. The ideology to welcome positive vibes, worship God for blessing and to start the beginning of the new season with happiness and joy remain the same for all. The twinkling colorful lights illuminate every household with brightness and positivity and the fragrance of sandalwood and agarbatis , color of rangoli and recitations of prayer in every temple and household make you realize the prominence and exclusivity of Indian festivals and tradition.


 


Patachitra is a unique folk tradition of visual storytelling accompanied by songs performed by the Patuas. Stories are painted on long Scrolls by the Painters known as Chitrakars (family surname) who gradually and unfurl them while narrating. Patachitra has drawn the attention and interest of artists, art connoisseurs and or researchers and has been nationally and internationally acclaimed as a very interesting style of painting. To some, Patachitra is the precursor of modern day animation. The word Pata comes from the Sanskrit word Patta that means “a piece of cloth” and Chitra refers to painting. The songs are known as Pater Gaan which is passed down to next generations. Traditionally, the Patuas would travel from village to village, singing and displaying the scrolls to earn a living.

A lady in the village displaying her work.

Image Credits: beta.outlooktraveller.comjust-backa-painters-village-in-west-bengal-1006547

Patachitra is known for its bold colours, lines and strokes. The multilayer communication in Patachitra includes strong visual and lucid audio messages which not only enliven the traditional stories but is also used to communicate the social issues. The Patachitra scrolls come in varied sizes from 1 to 1 and half feet in width an three to 25 feet in length depending on the narratives. Sometimes, the two ends are attached to two bamboo sticks.

A Traditional Scroll Painting

Image credits: http://www.folk-ark.com/blog/2015/10/12/deccan-footprints

Patas scroll painting is one of the earliest art forms in Bengal and started with the most ancient peoples of the Austro- Asiatic culture. The early reference of the people practicing with art form is found in Brahamabaivartha Purana. Patuas, according to the text, were the descendants of the supreme artist Lord Vishwakarma and his wife Ghritachi. Patuas, one living in Bengal among Austro-Asiatic people and letter known as Chitrakars.

Design from the Painting

There are many types of themes in these paintings that are mythological Patas, Historical and Contemporary Patas and Patachitra on social issues. There are three original formats generally seen among the Patachitras in Bengal. The first is Jarano or Gutano , Arelatai Pata and Chauka Pata.

A lady displaying the traditional Scroll Paintings. 

The raw materials used to make a piece of traditional Patachitra paintings are: Papers, cloths, adhesive and natural color extracted from flowers, vegetables, leaves and mud. The artists extract red color from saffron, blue from Aparajita, white from Kusum Mati, green from runner beans or brown from teak leaves. Gum from wood Apple is extracted in a coconut shell and mixed with natural colors and kept in the bright sunlight to darken.Firstly, the outlines of the painting are drawn on paper with paint and brush. Then, the line drawings are filled with colors. After that a layer of recycled soft fabric is pasted on the reverse side of the paper to make the scroll stronger. The paintings are then dried naturally.

Patachitra in its original form is painted on paper scrolls. With design interventions, in recent times in recent times the paintings are done not only for narrative purposes but also for decoration on various products. These include apparels, fashion accessories, lifestyle items, furniture, jewellery etc.


Tshirt with Patachitra Design

Image Credits: http://www.craftsnation.in/white-pata-chitra-t-shirt,5

The artists of Pingla also celebrate their annual 3 day festival” POT Maya” since 2010. The unique festival held in mid November every year. Every house in the village transforms into and art gallery. Visitors can interact with the artists, get to know about the stories behind their paintings, learn about the ways to extract natural colors and paint and collect some marvelous artworks. While in Pingla, one can visit the Common Facility Centre built with the support of West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board, which houses the award winning artifacts from the hub and know more about the craft Patachitra. Let give history a bright future.

People from abroad visiting the village to see the paintings at POT MAYA festival.

 

Content and Image credits: www.banglanataka.com


Many millennia before recorded history in the Eolithic, Paleolithic and the Neolithic eras-Man like the other species lived in caves and forest. He wandered about hunting and, when no game was killed he ate such wild fruits and roots as were available to satisfy his hunger. He seldom could venture out after sunset. Darkness was to him a demon and the Sun, the giver of light a deity. With the passage of time he made another discovery, fire. He found was like giving and life-sustaining. Born of Aranees i.e. igniting sticks, this God banishes darkness, frightens the demon and invokes the light. He is the supreme counselor, ancient but eternally young.

Among the light of fire, the light of the sun, the light of the moon, this lamp is the best of lights -Skandapurana

 

                                                            A Kinnari Lamp from South India

With the deepa, the lamp begins a new chapter in civilization that which may be called the Deepa-yuga. As the symbol of Surya and Agni, the light has always been deemed auspicious. It was dutifully and religiously offered to him who bestowed it upon mankind. The lamp was indispensable for prayer. It was a stick with token of devotion, supplication and benediction. The Gods were believed to dwell by the light of the holy lamp. Its very existence helped man to shed the fear of the dark. To man, light was knowledge.

The lamp was sacred; and once its August function was gratefully accepted by man, it was but natural that he should try to adorn it with beauty and grace cover that he should make Sundara what was Shiva. The body of the lamp, to begin with, was of stone or shell. Later the innovation of Terracotta lamp and then metal lamps. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two great epics, make extensive reference to lamps of Gold and of precious stones. Because of tips uncontested place lamp should have found mention in the ancient scriptures and secular writing.

Thongavillaku or the eternal lamp found in Chola inscriptions of South India.

Mythology has made a powerful and continuous impact on the evolution of the lamp. The ten incarnations of the God Vishnu have been an unfailing source of inspiration for the lamp- maker. The lamp has a two-fold function. It is the veera of light for common use; and it also has a votive use at the time of domestic rites and festivals. There are many types of votive lamps; lamps with large pedestals which shed a steady light over spacious halls, little lights used for daily domestic worship, lamps for offering-archana-deepa; prayer lamps-aarti-deepa; and the nandadeepa, the eternal lamp which illumines the inner sanctuary of the temple. Also used to adorn the sanctuary are Deep-lakshmi , shaped in the form of graceful females, these are anything from 7 inches 7 feet in height, and are of brass or carved stone. This represents the divine history of lamps in India.

Deep Lakshmi Lamp


 

 

Content Research, Conceptualization & Written by Kaavya Lakshman

Embroidery, the origin of which dates back to ancient times, is a unique form of art where the cloth is embellished with designs using needle and thread. The ten lettered word encompasses a wide range of significance and utility- it is a source of livelihood of many Indians, it is worn as a statement of elegance by women, it is respectfully bestowed on our beloved deities and marks the beginning of various occasions all over the country.

India has a proud heritage of exquisite embroideries, which vary from region to region. In the city of Punjab, Bagh, a special type of Phulkari,is the auspicious embroidery adorned on the bride. Traditionally this embroidery is prepared by the grandmother of the bride, the making of which starts right from the time of her birth. It is a peculiar style which holds the design inside a square, giving it the imagery of a garden, from which the name ‘Bagh’ is derived. The embroidery is also done on bedcovers, and shawls made of thick handloom cloth usually dyed in terracotta shade to give it an earthly touch. Silver and gold threads are used for the embroidery work, along with decorative objects such as small mirrors and beads. The unfinished corners and discordant colours represent a nazar buti which is meant to protect the wearer from evil eye.

Bagh Embroidery of Punjab

The Persian form of embroidery Zardozi is derived from the two Persian terms ‘Zar’ which means gold and ‘Dozi’ which means embroidery. It is a form of metal embroidery which makes use of gold and silver threads to create elaborate designs. The original process was termed as ‘Kalabatun’. While the embroidery has existed in India from the time of Rig Veda, it essentially flourished under the patronage of the Mughals as it agreed with the lavish taste of the emperors and their queens. Under the patronage of Aurangzeb, Lucknow became the main hub of Zardozi artists. In present time the embroidery has been rediscovered and highly commercialized, finding space in designer attires, bags, shoes, interiors and much more. The motifs remain close to nature, ranging from flowers, trees, animals to the whole of Indian ecology.

Zardozi embroidery design

The embroidery of Kantha has an interesting historicity behind it. One of the oldest forms of embroidery, it can be dated back to pre-Vedic ages, but the Kantha work known in present times was found in Krishnadas Kaviraj’s 500 year old book, Chaitanya Charitamrita. The word Kantha has two meanings, the first being derived from the Sanskrit language which means ‘discarded garments’. The second meaning which is ‘throat’, is associated with Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva consumed the poison that came about due to the churning of the ocean. Goddess Parvati was shocked by Lord Shiva’s actions and wrapped her hands around his neck, strangling Lord Shiva and stopping the poison in his throat, rather than allowing it to drop to the universe that is held in Lord Shiva’s stomach. The potency of the poison caused Lord Shiva’s neck and throat to turn blue, therefore giving him the moniker, Nilakantha; ‘nila’ translates to ‘blue’. Therefore the motifs of Kantha are derived from ancient Indian art, including images of the sun, the tree of life and the universe. West Bengal is the proud bearer of the Kantha tradition, with the women of the region playing a significant role in its upkeep.

 


Traditional Kantha Work of Gujarat

Kachchhi embroidery of Gujarat, which is usually done on cotton or silk fabric, involves the use of silk or woolen thread in fine stitches to create elaborate patterns. It draws inspiration from romantic, architectural and human motifsas well as Persian and Mughal arts, withthe main colors being used include green, indigo, deep red, black, yellow and ivory. The distinctive feature of the embroidery is the use of mirrors and beads, strategically placed in between patterns. The famous attire of Gujarat, ghagra choli, carries the graceful embroidery of Kachchhi.

Woman doing traditional Kachchhi work of Gujarat.

The embroideries of India form an integral part of the rich heritage of India. The variation seen from state to state is regarded as a strong cultural identity of that region. The embroideries of India not only capture the interest of us Indians, but fascinate people all over the world!

Picture Credits: Pinterest

 


Indian artists have been known throughout the world for the great amount of history, culture and tradition that their art carries. From Indian Traditional Paintings to Art Posters, Indian Painters have never failed to glorify the history of Indian Paintings. Let us discover stories  about some handpicked art forms from the history of Indian Art that are lesser known but will take you on an incredible journey into India’s Past.

Finding Beauty In Fine Arts & Literature

An excerpt from Sixty Years of Writing on Art & Crafts in India by Roopa Lekha (1928-1988)

“In an era of contemporary art, there are only few who create or appreciate the beauty in Fine Arts and Literature. Let us read a story and dig into the history of Indian literature and fine arts while trying to appreciate the real beauty that lies within.

When we say ‘This poem is beautiful’ and when we say ‘this painting or sculpture or musical piece is beautiful’, do we mean the same thing by the word “beautiful”? Or does ‘beautiful’ as predicate differ from subject to subject, or according to the subjective concept of the object?

Once we accept this position that beauty differs with the seer’s eye or the listener’s ear, it is no use attempting to arrive at any general rule or any science of beauty. In the Kavyamimansa of Rajashekhar there is an interesting passage, which can be rather freely translated as:

‘’Palyakriti”, a Jain Acharya says- Whatever may be the nature of the object described, the beauty of a poem depends on the nature (psychological mood) of the poet. If the poet’s nature is full of Rasa, he projects that Rasa on to the nature outside. If the poet is dry and unemotional, even the most pleasant things are turned into sods.’ A man in love may praise a thing, while a man who is not attached may dislike the same, and a third person may be disinterested. For example, a disinterested person says, ‘For some people whose long nights with their beloveds are spent like moments, the moon may be a pleasantly cool thing; while for one who is separated, the same moon is as hot as an ovenful of cinders. But I do not have a beloved, nor am I separated from her, so, being, without both, this moon appears to be like a looking glass, neither cool, nor hot; neither pleasant’ nor unpleasant.’

Everything changes and is changeable. So it is neither full of good nor bad qualities.it is due to clever juxtaposition of words by an expert poet that the thing assumes properties. In the world of poetry there are no determinate values. The poets by their expression qualify the objects. One who wants to praise the moon calls it ‘Amritanshu’ (full of nectar) and the clever poet who wants to give a bad name, calls it ‘Doshakar’ (full of blemishes).

The concept of beauty in Fine Arts and Literature today is almost at crossroads: on one hand there is the atavistic pull of the elemental passions, the eternal child and the aboriginal in the artist is discarding all outer embellishments and is trying to go to the front; on the other hand the sociological and anthropological researches are digging up and raising mounds of disillusionment on both his sides, the taboo is no more a taboo and the romance is no more a romance”.

It is the time for the artists and writers to give the hallowed concept of beauty a new body, revive the soul of the Writings on Indian Art & Craft.

In an era of modern Indian art when so many companies are putting art for sale, Nazariya has taken a pledge to give the Artisans of India a platform where they can display the best of themselves. We have handpicked Indian Miniature Paintings, Ancient Indian Paintings and a collection of Indian Art Forms from the History of Indian Art that are dying. Join hands with Nazariya in bringing out the subtle message behind these artforms; the message of unity, brotherhood and community. This is Nazariya’s way of taking you on an incredible journey into India’s past, helping us create a new future.

 


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun, written by Hashid Sarfaraz.

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Ralli

The term Gypsies of a Lahore has come to describe people of different regions of Punjab/Pakistan and settled in the city Lahore with more opportunities for survival.

“Gypsies are known as Nomadic people”

In Lahore they almost live in every corner but the biggest community of gypsies are on the way of the famous Grand Trunk Road crossing Shahdara Bridge along the historically significant River Ravi.

Gypsies:

These people are

  • politically marginalized
  • largely alienated
  • deprived of the basic rights

Problems:

  • social rights
  • earning opportunities
  • illiterate
  • they have got at least 8-10 children

Bitter Reality:

  • begging is the main source of income
  • only two individuals have basic education among the Shahdara community
  • the more the kids, the more the earning hand

Occupation:(most of the families lives on the daily wages=labourers)

  • begging
  • drum beating
  • monkey show
  • selling balloons
  • selling fish, chicken, tortoise outside schools
  • clay toys

They are different from nomadic gypsy tribes who are constantly on move, never choosing to settle in any place, they instead do not travel to other parts of the country. they only leave when government launches an operation and forces them to leave.

They have strong roots in caste system. They mostly claim themselves to be Mughals, Sheikhs or Rajputs. Currently in Lahore they find their places to live in the following areas; Defense, Garden Town, Johar Town, Faisal Town, Model Town, Shahdara and Wafaqi Colony. They amount to about half a million within the 10 million population of Lahore itself. This means that every 19th person in the city is nomad and homeless.

Besides the plight of this community they are often found with these colourful patterns in the form of sheets or quilts commonly called the ‘Ralli’s’ which means bringing together various things and binding them hence the word ‘patchwork’ is used for this kind of work. Although all these communities are found with these patchworks but basically its the craft of ‘Sindh’ region in Pakistan, the craft involves the manipulation of the fabric in three most popular forms i.e combining patchwork, appliqué and embroidery to make up these quilts.

True, original rallis are made by hand, stitch by stitch using only fabric, threads and scissors. The ralli patterns closely resembles the ‘painted pottery of Indus Valley’region from over 3000 years ago.

The most fascinating fact about the manufacturing of this product is that the women making it do not have any kind of design being written down or laid out before them, its just in the form of a mental portfolio in the memories if these women.

Special quilts are often followed by a complete fabric at the back. Quilting is especially festive when the quilt is for a marriage and the sewing is accompanied by singing and stories shared by the ladies among each other. There are legends, folk songs and sayings about ralli. Wealth if a family in the region is determines by the number of rallis they own.

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These rallis are used for sleeping, the old ones are employed as padding for animals, square rallis are used to cover the floor and then food is served above the piece, food mats, very special rallis are made for dowry or wedding gifts as well as a gift to a local ‘holy man’.

Special rallis are embellished with mirrors, sequins, beads, tassels made from silk or yarn and shells. These quilts are made and assembled by women who have been taught textiles from childhood, girls start quilting at the age of 12, which not only sharpens their mind but also let them memorize patterns easily. This skill helps the women find a good partner in terms of marriage as a perk for their special skill.

Recycling: Traditionally rallis were made from recycled and hand dyed cotton cloth. They collect rags from  homes and also asked their neighbors for old clothes and rags. The production of ralli can be found in Sindh in Umerkot and Tharparkot.

The making of ralli in different color schemes, patterns, designs, typology of making varies as we move from lower Sindh to Upper Sindh where lower part involves intricate quilts in black/white, red/yellow, black/white and red/yellow color schemes.

Middle Sindh is followed by many variations in the ralli designs with color schemes that includes white, black, red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple.

Upper Sindh, famous for intricate blocks of appliqué and sometimes embroidery, multiple borders, tassels in the corner or the entire quilt.

Sindh(Northern), these rallis have very distinct features. I the area of Rahim Yar Khan, rallis consisted of q path blocks with very fine appliqué block, square borders or mix patchwork and appliqué and the use of muted tones/colors.


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Rubina

Folk arts have existed for centuries as a simple productional form, and have become more and more complicated with time. 

Take the example of Belarus, where the wooden filigree technique was found at the end of the xxxx century. This historical craft is all about modifying old objects in the form of pottery, glass and textile productions with interesting and unique artistic attitudes. 

A plate decorated in the technic of Sozh skan’ (filigree) [1]

These productions, mostly small-scale, are based on wide use of hand tools and personal skills of craft workers to ensure high quality. Take the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery in Sergiev Posad town of Russia, which had Amvorsij, a talented monk in the 15th century, who was an outstanding carver and jeweler of his time.

Wooden swarfs [5]

The monk created an icon, which was decorated with wooden chips which became a prominent masterpiece of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. It is located at the Museum of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Russia. 

Icon of St. Nicolas with a frame in Sozh filigree technic

The unique religious artwork was discovered by noted Belarusian artist Vladimir Tsekunov who brought this craft back to life in the 1990s, and founded a school in the technique. The art craft is a complicated combination of wooden chips for decoration and creation of unique artistic works. Tsekunov created a special machine with tweezers for wood shavings, which are need for a working process. 

In addition, the master and all his students do not use any additional paints. All works have natural wooden colors without any additional chemical elements. The colors are different because the masters use different types of wood, which give different shades and colors during the process. The width of a wooden chip is no more than a millimeter , and are fixed with liquid glue.  A matte vanish is then applied to the artwork emphasize the beauty of the wood, where a microscope gives sometimes only an opportunity to see the smallest parts of compositional details of this ” timber mosaic”.

Vladimir Tsekunov

There are a limited number of specialists, who work in this technique, such as Sergey Podolnitsky, Michael Shumsky, Eugene Shvetsov and Sergey Kuzmenkon whowork as filigree masters in their own unique styles.

This art, such as the Icon of St. Maria’s heart, a present to Pope Francis the sixth is a unique masterpiece, which cannot be recreated again. Some of these masterpieces are jewelry boxes, panels, and even icons and were given as presents abroad to many famous personalities, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis and others.

Icon of St. Maria’s heart, the present from the president of Belarus to Pope Francis [6]

Sources:

1) http://www.artfolk.by/shumskiy-mihail.html

2) http://www.ctv.by/sozhskaya-skan-unikalnaya-tehnika-vyshivki-derevyannoy-struzhkoy

3) V.V. Tsekunov 1st and 2nd part of film [online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz8IUHYhZ4g]

4) http://tsekunov.narod.ru/photoalbum.html

5)http://www.liveinternet.ru/tags/%D1%EA%E0%ED%FC+%22%D6%E5%EA%F3%ED%EE%E2%EA%E0%22/

6) http://sputnik.by/religion/20151023/1018034209.html


Everyone remembers playing a game of Ludo or Snakes & Ladders be it on a hot summer day or a cool winter evening. These board games that form such a beloved part of our childhood actually take their origins much far behind in history. One such game is Chowka Bhara.

In former princely states like Tripura, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu , Kerala and Punjab, Chowka Bhara was a favorite past time. The game uses easily available articles like sea shells, broken bangles and tamarind seeds, broken bangle bits and coins. The players seek cialisfrance24.com to move them across a 5 by 5 square drawn on the board to reach an inner space called “home”. It is played in a squares format on the floor.

 

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Fig: A Chowka Board

Fig:A custom made board

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The four player game Each player have four pawns (coins, bangle bits etc) starting at different positions at the four crossed squares at the outermost ring. The rules of game

Chowka Bhara Board-(http://bp1.blogger.com/5D2Wzovowzc/SB2_kwbnjXI/AAAAAAAAAAU/LXU2kY3WVQo/s400/chaukabara-5×5.jpg )

How the game works: 

  1. The board is always kept in the center during the game.
  2. Each player has a different starting point and initially keeps all his coins there (marked by X on his side).
  3. Each player takes turn to throw all four cowrie shells on the floor and moves one of his coins according to the number as indicated by the shells.
  4. Movement of coins is in anti-clockwise direction in outer squares and then in clockwise direction in inner squares as shown by the arrow in the diagram.
  5. If a player’s coin lands on a square occupied by opponent’s coin. The opponent’s coin is cut and the player gets an extra turn to play.
  6. The cut coin returns to its starting home square and has to go round all over again.
  7. The crossed squares (home squares) though, are safe places and no coins present here can be cut.
  8. When a coin reaches the square left of its home square, it further moves up into the inner squares in clockwise direction. Each coin finishes its race when it manages to get into the innermost crossed square.
  9. The first player to get all his coins into the innermost square wins the game.

Extra Turn:

  • Whenever a chowka or a bhara (four or eight) is got during a throw of cowrie shells, the player gets a bonus turn to throw the cowries.
  • When a player cuts opponent’s coin, he gets an extra turn to play.
  • During an extra turn, either the same coin or some other coin can be played.

This ‘Game of Chance’ finds relevance in mythology Mahabharata. Evidently,in two or four player format this game involves an element of chance by the roll of special dice and an element of strategy .

The Chowka Bhara board game is still played to improve the counting skills of the children . As important aspect of personality development, it was used to teach kids war tactics and strategies as well as eye-to-hand coordination in earlier time.

Want to try this game now? Check out the ‘ Store’ section to buy Chowka Bhara at Nazariya.

Happy Shopping!

 


Author: Noah Unathraj

Image Source: http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/02510/14TH_KINNERA_2510681e.jpg

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”, quoted the famous French artist Edgar Degas. Yes indeed in my perspective art is something more imaginative, profound and absorbing to the human soul. It frees out mind and body from the busy mauhauul of everyday life and looking up to something which is delightful and engrossing in a heartfelt manner. Art is the involuntary susceptibility that an insaan feels in a warm way. India is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” unity in diversity hence has engulfed emulsions of many art forms and has become the hunting ground for souls of peoples engrossed in art. Today I am to present you something of an art which has lost its prominence 4 centuries ago. Though it has not totally died down precisely, it has almost been on the verge of extinct but has some time ago resurged back to life by none other than Mister Darshanam Mogilaiah the one of the very few survivors of this extricated instrument titled “The Kinnera” (a string instrument).

A  re-known artiste of the Telangana state, in fact the one person in the country playing the 12-step kinnera, hailing from Ayusaolni kunta village of the Mahabubnagar district in Telangana state. He belongs to a low esteemed family where his forefathers have dedicated their lives in an urge to empower and boost up the spirits of the people to take part in freedom struggle against the British by playing the instrument and singing patriot songs in synch. The “Dakkali” tribe has put in their flesh and soul for design and working of the instrument, has actively participated in the freedom movement. “Dakkali” have been a Chenchu race breed and brought up through odds and slavery right from the start by the landlords and the upper caste people in the society and hence in order to revolt against them have invented the device to unite the people of all the lower caste in their society and have struggled for their freedom and fought their way out.   

Kinnera is a stringed instrument like Desi Veena, has 12 steps which is able to produce 12 different tunes with the 2 strings that are mounted on them. The instrument uses bamboo for the neck, dried and hollowed gourds for resonators, human hair or animal nerves for strings and pangolin scales for frets which are fixed using honey-wax. According to Adivasi studies state that the Chenchus have lost the instrument half century ago when the gourd used for resonator became extinct in this region. This has come into lime light while researching about Panduga Sayanna a Telangana fighter. The dakkali singers sang in his praise using “Kinnera”.  It has almost taken 3 years to trail out and explore this history through the help of Dakkali Pochaiah.

Darshanam Mogilaiah

Image Source: http://cdn.deccanchronicle.com/sites/default/files/Moghulayya_0.jpg

Darshanam Mogilaiah aged 65 has been the forerunner of this instrument now. He belongs to “Madiga Mastin” tribe which is a sub-caste of community. He has been a master of this art and 5th generation artiste in the family which has been playing the “Kinnera”. He is skilled at frolicking the 12 step music singing mostly in praise of Meera Saab who according to a legend, lived during the Wanaparthy Samsthan 400 years ago in Mahabubnagar. Meera Saab, a Robinhood-type do-gooder, used to rob the rich and feed the poor. His ancestors constructed the kinnera with 8 steps or more, Mogilaiah is the only one to build up to 12 steps to produce different tunes with the 2 strings. He uses dried fruit, coconuts or dried horns positioned at 12 places on the instrument, helping generate a different type of music. The ‘twelve frets’ of the Kinnera are made of ‘bull horn’, who have been his treasure which are permanent while the others when worn out can be replaced. He speaks “The Chiluka (parrot) is also a very important element of my Kinnera as it starts dancing along with me in many of my rhythmic songs.” He says people must recognize the sacrifice being made to protect the heritage of the local songs and rising voice on social issues through his family tradition.

With times and advent of electronic instruments, it’s on the wane- perhaps extinct. He is perhaps among the few living bards who can play the instrument and perform. This enthralling singing in hand with the instrument is an experience to live up. He just doesn’t want to be recognized as a performer of this wonderful instrument, but preserve the art of it. Through his endeavors he has received a fillip in the form of Dasari Ranga, a research scholar of Osmania University, who is doing a thesis on “Karshaka Geetalu” (folk songs of agricultural workers) has arranged a program to showcase the art resulting in authorities of Telugu University and University oh Hyderabad (UoH) for introducing a course on kinnera folk art for which Mogilaiah could be an instructor.    

Music is the entity which binds a person together irrespective of his caste, creed and color. Even though its origin is from the flock flare it has found out its way through and has been an important criterion in enhancing and encouraging the morale of the people even at hardships, thought dead has risen out now in order to re-mesmerize back the people and showcase its versatility on the world stage and give the while a wider perspective of so many such art forms which are there lying underneath waiting for an opportunity for them to be resurged back to life.    


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Roshini Murlidhara

The origin of the city of Bangalore occurred as a trade centre. Kempegowda, the visionary founder of the city, established the Bangalore Pete(city) area in 1537.A.D around the mud fort.He invited traders from across the country to establish their business and make Bangalore a successful trading post.

Kempegowda’s dream took shape in the form of an oval shaped Pete area with two main streets, the Chikkapete street running east-west and the Doddapete street running north-south.The intersection of these two streets was called the Doddapete Square(now Avenue road).Four gates were erected at the four cardinal points namely Halasoor(east),Sondekoppa(west),Yelahanka(north) and Anekal(south).In order to organize the functioning of the various traders, Kempegowda came up with an ingenious idea of forming several layouts,each catering to a certain trade or profession.For example, Doddapete(Dodda means big) was for big business establishments ,Chikkapete(Chikka means small) was for small business establishments, Akkipete(Akki means rice) was for rice traders, Ragipete(Ragi means red millet) was for ragi traders,balepete (bale means bangles) was for bangle traders, Ganigarapete was for oil traders, Nagarthapete was for Gold traders, Gollarpete was for cowherds & cattle traders, Kurubarapete was for sheep traders, Thigalarapete was for farmers of Tigala community, Upparapete (Uppu means salt) was for salt traders, Aralepete (now Cottonpete) for cotton traders, Kumbarapete for pot traders and many more such petes.

bangalore heritage market An artist's impression of the pete area

An artist’s impression of the pete area (www.google.com)

The Pete area initially evolved as a pedestrian precinct with the public spaces growing into bazaar streets, temple squares and open grounds and even till today it continues to be a pedestrian bazaar with a deep network of crowded streets with a cross-cultural identity,social history and economic geography.Though the Pete area has a longer history than the British cantonment,after its establishment in 1809,the Pete area lost its importance because of the better facilities such as wider roads and drainage systems in the cantonment area and the city was divided into the old town(Pete area) and the new town(cantonment area).

bangalore heritage market the pete area today

The pete area today

The British, after consolidating their rule in Bangalore, felt the need for a market that catered to the growing population and its needs. T B Russell ,the then municipal commissioner, initiated the construction of Russell market in 1927, which is now  a landmark market in Bangalore.He wanted to ensure that the cantonment area had a market area with the necessary supplies of meat, flowers, fruits and vegetables under one roof. The market place with brickwork of lime and mortar, roofing with corrugated aluminium sheets supported by steel girders was constructed in Indo-Sarcenic style using features of bulbous domes capped with Gothic spires from Hindu architecture and scalloped arches from Islamic architecture.

bangalore heritage market An old picture of russel market

An old picture of russel market

bangalore heritage market The russell market of today

The russell market of today

In the lines of Russell market,the Krishna Rajendra market(K.R.Market or City market) was established in 1928 in an area which acted as a buffer zone(earlier a battlefield) between the native town and the fort area.There used to be an extensive platform known as Siddikatte where vendors from the nearby village sold their produce and this area soon developed into a huge market place.

bangalore heritage market The KR market of now

The KR market of now

Another such market that came into existence was the Johnson market at Richmond road in 1929.It was often referred to as Russell market’s poor cousin.It was formerly called as Richmond town market as it catered to that locality and was renamed after a British civil servant.The land on which the market sits belonged to Aga Ali Asker, a rich businessman from Persia, who is said to have donated the plot for the market.Apart from being a trading centre, this market also boosts of some exotic eateries like Makkah café famous  for tea, Fanoos and Madeena stores famous for samosas.

bangalore heritage market An old picture of Johnson market

An old picture of Johnson market

bangalore heritage market the Johnson market today

The Johnson market today

Another example of such market is the Murphy town market which is one of the premium meat selling markets in Bangalore.Formerly called as Knoxpet, this area was renamed as Murphy town in honour of the engineer W.H.Murphy who improved the sanitary conditions of the area by establishing underground drainage systems.

bangalore heritage market The Murphy town market now

The Murphy town market now

These markets have been an integral part of the city’s history and even though the city has developed into an urban metropolitan, these markets have stood the test of time and today are architectural marvels of their kind.These structures are one of the few recognised heritage sites within the city and are also bangaloreans favourite choice when it comes to shopping..!!