Navratri is almost over with today being Vijayadashami – the 10th day that is Dusshera, that brings victory over evil. Everyday for the past week, once I am back from work, I would receive people at home and explain my Navratri concept which is “colour psychology of green” this year. As it is both a social, and religious festival, there is a lot of talk of temples, of people dressing up in there finest and ofcourse jewelry. To reflect his trend, this week’s post is about Temples and Jewellery and the temples of Chennai that I have used as inspiration in my jewellery collection Patinam.
From the left: Marundeeshwar temple gopuram, Kapaleeshwar Temple Gopurams and Two of the Mahabalipuram pagodas
Of Temples and Jewellery – a background
Have you ever wondered about the expression ‘Wear your Sunday best to Church”? It means that we need to dress our best while offering prayers at a place of worship. As a kid I always used to dress up in finest silk skirts and blouses and wear jewelry and flowers whenever I visited a temple. That went out the door during my rebellious teenage-college years when I used to argue “why God wouldn’t accept me in casual attire?” My parents like many parents of their generation quickly gave up. It was only recently I understood the true reason behind dressing up for worship. Going well dressed to place of worship was a means to offer thanks to the God/god/Goddess/goddess by showing them that you are happy and feeling blessed to live a fruitful life. It has more to do with respect (like dressing up in the clothes your grandparents bought you when they visit) than a religious thing.
Ever since this realisation, I have started to wear jewellery while visiting places of worship – be it of any religion. When I made Patinam, I wanted to create pieces that people could not only wear to temples but also reminded them of (particular) temples when they were away from them. Almost, like a souvenir – that is more fashionable yet belonging to prescribed cultural and religious sensibilities discussing Temples and Jewellery.
Marundeeshwar Temple Necklaces
In a past post on patinam, I had written about how the collection was made of my personal memories. This necklace right here, is one such example. A few years back, I had taken a photograph of the Marundeeshwar temple gopuram (Entrance arch) from my apartment’s terrace. This was taken during one of my regular jewelry photoshoots on the terrace where I take random pictures of things/views in my vicinity to determine the light settings. It was neither a great composition from was the gopuram in close up. But I had held one to it all these years. Yes, I hoard stuff not just physically but digitally too.
So when I decided to make digital sketches of places in Chennai for this collection, I thought of this photograph. I created a digital sketch based on the photograph in two colour variants in bright yellow and bright pink and set them in oval antique brass frames. South India Temple gopurams are famous for their Stucco statues in a variety of colours. So I incorporated atleast three colours in each piece. The yellow follows an analogous colour scheme while pink is more on the triadic side.
The yellow one was the first piece to sell from this collection ever before it was launched. Special thanks to Mr. Bragadeesh Prasanna who wrote a glorious review of it on his blog. I have more more piece of the yellow pendant so I can make it into a necklace on order. I made 2 of the pink necklace and both are sold.
We have an interesting 3 storied temple in Chennai for Lakshmi – the Goddess of wealth. The eight different forms of the Goddess are housed in shrines on three different floors in an almost labyrinth like pattern. It is something that you do not normally see other than in the Perumal temple at Uthiramerur of which this is a copy. I have written about these eight forms of wealth and the necklace I made in 2014 in an old Navaratri post. No wanting to repeat myself, this time I used only two images along with the kemp focal and fabric beads that makes Patinam unique. Necklace is sold.
Kapaleeshwar temple necklace
If you search for Chennai in Trip advisor, the identification image is of Mahabalipuram (see below) and the first attraction that you will see is kapaleeshwar temple situated in Mylapore. If you have read or heard of Panchatantra moral stories (or Kalilah – wa- Demna or Fables of Bidpai) then you should know that they were said to be written for the three Princes of the sea kindgom Mayilopuri to train them in art and science of ruling a kingdom.
The Stucco work of this temple’s archways are extremely colorful and striking. But instead using it, I wanted to make a black and white pendant. I paired the pendant with black and beige checked fabric beads and contrasted it with beads in teal, green and pink. The necklace is available for sale.
Mahabalipuram – Of rathas (Chariots) and Pagodas
Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram referred to as the ‘land of Seven Pagodas’ by Marco Polo is known for the Wondrous Stone temples filled with sculptures. It was a Pallava seaport known as Kadal mallai developed by Raja Narasimhavarman I (Mamalla) and Narasimhavarman II. Though the active worship does not happen here, these are splendid reminders of Pallava architecture (like the ones in Kancheepuram I wrote about in the post on Yazhi). I worked with free postcard images by Tucks Oilette
Both the pendants seen below were derived from the same postcard titled “Seven Pagodas”. In the first one I have used purple ribbon beads, glass beads, and threads beads in purple and orange. It is a striking necklace that were published in the Hindu Metroplus newspaper.
The second one has more to do with colonial history and is more of a conceptual piece. The Palm leaf bead on the right refers to Pulicat, the Dutch stronghold on the coromandel coast. It was the place that the Dutch came to find cloth -both plain and checked that they later exported which is shown by the thread beads. The Dutch later set up a rival town to Madrasapattinam called Sadurangapattinam or Sadras close to Mahapallipuram to control the sea trade. On right is a bead with a Oriental print, much like the Chinoserie fabrics that originated from Indian Chintz. This piece is truly a collector’s piece meant for a historian or a researcher. Both the pieces are available for sale.
With that we come to the end of both Navratri as well as this post. In 2-3 days the dolls will be packed for their year long hibernation. Though I am sad that navratri is over, it also means that I would have time to devote to making more jewellery for Diwali. Stay tuned for it.
So tell me in the comments if you have ever worn a piece that is symbolic of a historic building or a place of worship? Or will you be open to wearing such a piece? I am curious to know.
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I hope you find it interesting