Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ancient Dangling Gold Earrings

Rig-Veda, the oldest book in the world, mentions ornaments worn by the gods. Rudra, a Vedic deity, is described as "shining with brilliant gold ornaments" and "wearing" an adorable, uniform necklace". According to this book the demons also had plenty of gold and jewels and the kings and sages prayed to the God for valuables of that kind. Kakshivat, the sage, prayed for a son "decorated with golden earrings and jewel necklace".

No doubt jewellery making is an ancient craft that goes back to the cave man and its popular use in ancient India is well established.

In addition to it there are more ornaments used for the head, followed by ornaments used for the ears, the neck, the arms, the fingers, the anklets and the feet.

Jewellery in India also has had social and economic implications. It is an investment as also a saving for emergencies. The jewellery given to the bride at the time of the marriage becomes her own possession called stridhan, woman's wealth. This was in addition to the love of personal adornment inherent in the women folk.

But for mortal humans it also symbolises the concept of immortality. Precious stones and precious metals, distinguished by this classification from other substance have, throughout the ages, stood for power and wealth.

And this concept of power and wealth, as imbibed through ornaments, seems to have remained integrated in the psyche of the Punjabi women through the ages and remarkably so despite a stream of war and rapine that marked the life of the people of the land of five rivers with continuous vicissitudes.

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