This rice beater from Nagaland exemplifies the beauty and style the Naga people put into even their most utilitarian objects.
The timeless quality of an object like this defies precise dating. All we have to go on is the patina and workmanship and the knowledge that Nagaland is now inundated with factory produced goods. Let's say that it is pre-1950. ...click for details
Because of the subject matter we can assume these two small panels were once part of a thorgam, a Tibetan cabinet used specifically for making offerings to wrathful gods. Each features a skull cup (Tibetan: kapala) being
supported by three severed heads, and holding offerings. Inside the cabinet would have been placed more offerings.
They have been varnished before they were cleaned, so they would be a challenge to ...click for details
Polished shell beads this size invariably have seams, crevices or other surface flaws. The jeweler in Kathmandu, Nepal, who produced these beads capitalized on these flaws by filling them in with a mastic into which he pressed tiny bits of Tibetan turquoise and coral. The closer one looks the more interesting this necklace becomes. Not only is it stunning but so far it is unique.
This is an unusual Naga necklace with five cut-out full male figures flanked by a fish pendant on either side. Take a close look at the faces and you will see that each of the brass pieces is unique. The cutting out of the voids is an unusual extra step which had to have been done individually by hand and indicates the care to which the craftsman went. The necklace is strung with traditional orange cylindrical Naga glass beads. ...click for details
For a comprehensive description of the iconography and meaning of the bell and vajra we refer you to the excellent "Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs" by Robert Beer.
The set shown here is of the closed five pronged variety with all the iconography described so exactingly by Mr. Beer. The bell is four inches in diameter and seven inches high; the
vajra measures 4-3/4 inches in length. There is a ti ...click for details
In traditional Naga society the wearer of this necklace had to have taken three heads. Since the Naga gave up headhunting by the middle of the 20th century, we are dating this necklace as pre-1950 though it is probably considerably older.
A 21 inch string of black, yellow and green beads attaches to loops on either ends of the brass heads. The three heads together measure 5-3/4 inches in length. Not including the t ...click for details
This is a necklace without an opening about twenty inches long. It consists of a string of white heart beads and nine old brass pieces. One of the pieces represents a human face and the others represent leaves, melons, or abstract shapes. The brass ornaments all show good age, with nice wear on the backs and also where they hang from a string. They are considerably older than the date we estimate for the necklace and bear no relationship to the new brass items now coming out of Nagaland. They va ...click for details
With the Newaris of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal it was customary for the donors of a statue to a temple to have a small statue of themselves cast to be put beside it. These were called donor figure statues.
In these donor statues the male is always to the left of the female. He kneels while she sits cross-legged. They are always portrayed with their hands held together in the gesture of devotion. This male donor cl ...click for details