Monday, 16 July 2012

Jewels of India

Now that I've finished all my work for Local Colour, I thought I'd get back to some photos of my travels earlier this year. During a month in India I was surrounded by intricate ornamentation on everything from people to animals to trucks, including lots of jewellery styles I'd only ever seen in historical, "ethnic jewellery" books.

Many women of Rajasthan wore these traditional large hoop-style gold nose rings held in place across one cheek by a thin chain connecting to an earring worn at the top of the ear. Brilliantly coloured clothing is also popular, perhaps as a contrast with the dry, dusty landscape.

These heavy silver anklets, worn in pairs on both ankles, is said to be common in rural areas. This family carries their luggage on their way into (or out of) Varanasi, a holy Hindu pilgrimage city on the Ganges.

Turbans, although worn for religious reasons by some, are also worn by others as a cultural adornment or fashion. We saw many men in pink turbans, which we were told was the current fashion, although it seems that the choice of colour, size and style of turbans is also influenced by a number of social factors such as region, community or caste, occupation and season or specific occasion.

The blanket-shawls (like the green one on the man on the right) were popular with men during the cold winter mornings when we visited Delhi and the surrounding area, as a way of keeping warm before the sun takes the chill off the day.

Larger turbans also serve to protect the wearer from the heat of the sun. A traditional Rajasthani turban, unraveled, is 82 feet long!

This woman's nose ring, although difficult to see in the photo, was a large paisley shaped gold wire hanging down from her nose over her mouth.

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