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Caviar-Black Baluchari Sari from Bengal Showing the Story of Dushyant and Shakuntala and Love Gods Kamadeva and Rati

Caviar-Black Baluchari Sari from Bengal Showing the Story of Dushyant and Shakuntala and Love Gods Kamadeva and Rati

Drape yourself in a Baluchari silk to make a statement replete with history and art and devotion. Having been woven since the mid-eighteenth century, these figured silks are endemic to Bengal; the Baluchar region in Murshidabad district, to be precise. It is the only Bengali saree to be woven on the drawloom, and features a complicated multi-warp and multi-weft weave. These unique silks are often chosen by the more reserved of Bengali brides as their wedding saree (the Banarasi variety made nearby in eastern Uttar Pradesh being hands-down the more popular choice). The one you see on this page would be a great one to drape on one of the ritual evenings succeeding your phere.

The field of this saree is luxuriantly done up in woven images of the gorgeous Shakuntala in her garden. The rest of the story is in the pallu, as is the norm with Baluchari sarees, where she is shown with Raja Dushyant. More such figures have been woven onto the moderately thick border as well. The inky black of the foundation together with the glimmering gold of the zari in the foreground, makes for a colour combination that you cannot go wrong with. Teamed with your newest gold possessions, this silken number is as bridal as they get.

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Sheshashayi Vishnu, And The Birth Of Lord Brahma

Sheshashayi Vishnu, And The Birth Of Lord Brahma

The image of the Sheshashayi Vishnu induces great calm and stability in the mind of the devotee. Shesha is the name of the naga (snake) on whose coils the Lord lies in sleep, which is the Sanskrit word for 'end'; 'shayi' in Sanskrit stands for one who is lain down. It is the volatile moment between destruction and re-projection, the transitional state between two cycles of time and existence as we know it. It is a powerful image and as one looks upon it, one visualises the chaotic but amniotic ocean that surrounds Him as He dreams the world into being. He is a superbly handsome deity as captured in the select medium of bronze, this composition having been handpicked from South India for its high-precision finish.

It is inimitable, owing to the degree of labour and skill poured into this work. India's bronze sculptural tradition remains unmatched in traditional art across the world, paintings having dominated most of the art of the western world. The South is the home of this tradition, which began with the patronage of the Pallava rulers and flourished under that of the Cholas. Note the lifelike coils of Sheshanaga, and the lotus that springs forth from His navel as expounded in the Mahabharata. Thus was the Lord Brahma born, who went on to project the subsequent cycle of time and existence of which we are a part. A quiet rishi of the South is seated in ardha-padmasana at the tail of Shesha. He is steeped in dhyana.

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Chaturbhujadhari Devi Kali, With The Beauteous Eyes

Chaturbhujadhari Devi Kali, With The Beauteous Eyes

Madhubani art is so called because it is endemic to Bihar's Madhubani district; the Mithila region, to be precise. Having been practised by local women, it is a form of bhitti chitra ('bhitti' means 'wall'; 'chitra', 'painting') used to decorate the home and the hearth. Understandably, the themes dominant in the folk art produced by a simple, reserved people are devotional and draw from the rich mythology of the culture. This contemporary Mithila painting is no exception. It is a rudimentary Mother Kali composition - the long-haired, long-tongued chaturbhujadhari Devi with the determined, almost fierce gaze. Her husband, the Lord Shiva, lies supine beneath Her divine feet. From the traditional mud-wall canvas, Mithila art has evolved to be done on portable canvas such as paper treated specially for the purpose in this case.

It is characterised by thick black outlines, filled in with solid colours with no shading. The painting you see on this page deviates from Madhubani colour conventions, featuring a black-and-white colour format. White spaces are minimised with finer and finer detailing in black, the pigment for which has been derived from carbon black. Despite the rustic mood of the work, Her iconography, as well as Her husband's, is replete. Her hands bear the implements of wrath, and She is naked but for the deathly skirt of severed human arms. Between Her large beauteous eyes is the tattoo of a trishool, indicating that it is to Shiva She belongs. Zoom in on any portion of the background to appreciate the time and labour that must have gone into the same.

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Statement Black Wooden Ring With Sterling Silver Latticework

Statement Black Wooden Ring With Sterling Silver Latticework

An unusual make of finger jewellery, this ring would be a quirky item to accessorise your outfit with. It is fashioned from wood and lacquered for a super-smooth finish. The base colour is a statement black, such that it will look good no matter the dominant colour of the rest of your ensemble. It is not only the concept of this fashionable designer ring, but also the high-precision finish of the workmanship that makes it a statement accessory. From ethnic to western and everything in between, this ring would go with almost any and every item of your wardrobe.

The body of the ring is thick and embossed with bits of symmetrically cut wood arranged against the lacquered black to form a bold pattern. These chips range from a shining white to a golden yellow in colour. The surface of the ring that would be conspicuous to onlookers is superimposed with a curvaceous latticework of sterling silver. This is bound to make this ring your go-to accessory, your own personal signature that is at once assertive and feminine. This is indeed the kind of eclectic jewellery that turns heads and starts conversations wherever you go wearing this.

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Mother Of Pearl Pure Pashmina Handloom Shawl from Kashmir with Kalamkari Needle Embroidery by Hand

Mother Of Pearl Pure Pashmina Handloom Shawl from Kashmir with Kalamkari Needle Embroidery by Hand

Pashmina is select. It is regal. An exquisite Indian fabric that has clothed royalty since time immemorial, the shawl you see on this page is a fine example of its aesthetic possibilities. Handpicked from the loom of the mountains, it is a particularly youthful number. The colour-palette is irresistibly feminine - vibrant blues, greens, and oranges, with a generous infusion of multiple shades and tints of pink. The result is a gorgeous image of temperate floral beauty.

No other part of the world has the resources and the skill to work with pashmina. The fabric is made from the natural molt of the endemic changra goat, which is then delicately spun into yarn, dyed, and painstakingly embroidered using local techniques, which means that this single pashmina item has taken months to be finished. The kalamkari is dense and superbly precise, a hallmark of the high-quality craftsmanship and labour that have gone into this wearable work of art. Layered over your choicest Indian sarees and suits, this pashmina shawl would make an inimitable statement.

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Traditional Yali Temple Pillars

Traditional Yali Temple Pillars

The Yali is to Indian culture what the griffin is to Greco-Roman culture. It refers to a creature that has the features of the most powerful members of the faunal kingdom, and is yet more powerful than all of them put together. The Yalis in this one-of-a-kind wood sculpture have the mane of a lion, the teeth of a crocodile, and the musculature of a horse. An age-old symbol in the visual arts of the South, the Yali composition gained prominence during the sixteenth century. It could be found to grace temple doors and pillars across ancient temples in South India. This mythical creature is considered the guardian-protector of the temple where it is installed, usually in pairs.

The Yali sculpture that you see on this page is a pair of handcrafted brackets, chosen for its one-of-a-kind composition. The Yalis are adorned with green and orange fabric, their long tails wound around a matching floral motif. A couple of kneeling elephants raise their trunks at the feet of the respective Yalis. Their dense black mane contrasts sharply with the white of their spine-chilling dentures. At their feet are traditionally carved lotus-petal structures, more of which are to be found at the top of the pillars behind their backs and on the roof over their manes. Zoom in on the wood-carving to appreciate the beauty and precision of the workmanship.

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The Solemn Banjara Sisters (Framed)

The Solemn Banjara Sisters (Framed)

There is something about the banjara's idea of life that survives despite its being counter-intuitive. A sense of home is so fundamental to our psyche that the nomadic way of life appears to us to be an impracticability, albeit a romantic one to some of us. For the banjaras, life is neither romantic nor impracticable; it is simply what it is. Their livelihood is in itinerant trade which range from gorgeous handicrafts to fortune-telling, which would barely count as survival in our books but suffices their purpose - enough for them to have lived this way for years, without desiring what lies in abundance around them. The oil painting you see on this page depicts a pair of banjara sisters. Their self-contained composures of countenance convey that these peoples tend to be reserved with us outsiders.

They are dressed in their traditional attires and jewellery. Lots of colours and natural motifs on their fitted cholies that they've probably worn with ghagras of similar make, and brightly coloured dupattas that are either hand-me-downs from or made by their mother. They are wearing lots of silver jewellery, chunky and studded with semi-precious stones. They have no makeup on except the thick soot that lines their smouldering eyes beneath beauteous, unkempt brows. Having lived their lives out in the arid Northwest, their complexions have taken on an inimitable desert-like quality. The dark background, probably one of the mud walls of their temporary dwelling, adds to the solemnity of the composition.

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Sterling Silver Anklets With Ruby And Cubic Zirconia Drops

Sterling Silver Anklets With Ruby And Cubic Zirconia Drops

Every woman should own a pair of statement anklets that are as good to team with party outfits as they are to be worn around the house. In this part of the world, where the anklets on this page have been made by local silversmiths, every woman has that one pair that was her first, gifted to her by a senior female member of her family to commemorate her growing up. The sight and sound of it carries her back to her childhood, and she would probably hand it down to one of her daughters for her to remember her childhood by. These handpicked silver anklets would make for a great hand-me-down among the women in your family.

It is a series of tiny silver discs with rangoli-esque engravings on them. These are interconnected with even tinier silver loops that lock into each other with the help of proportionately sized silver bands. From each of the silver diskettes emerge three drops - a rich majenta-coloured ruby flanked by glassy cubic zirconia. The gems used to finish the anklets are miniscule and encased in silver. They will be sure to announce the wearer's presence as she motions in and out of rooms around the house. Alternatively, these would great in a pair of stiletoe-clad feet.

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Cashmere Poncho from Nepal with Embroidery

Cashmere Poncho from Nepal with Embroidery

The poncho is a versatile garment. It functions as both a top and an outerwear that you could layer over the rest of your outift. The one that you see on this page is a colour-blocked poncho handpicked for its sheer elegance. Fashioned from pure pashmina wool, it comes from the looms of local Nepalese weavers because no other region in the world has the knowledge and skill to work with pashmina. The naturally molting underbelly hair of the endemic changra goat takes an eye-watering proportion of time and labour to be spun into yarn, dyed, turned into fabric, and embroidered.

This explains why the pashmina fabric is so desirable. This poncho is a pale grey and brown number, superimposed with minimalistic embroidery down the bust. It sits gently on the shoulders, making for a drape that is deliciously feminine. Pashmina is arguably the warmest fabric that there is, which is despite its superlative lightness. This poncho is sure to be a signature addition to your wardrobe - you could wear it to parties or gatherings with a traditional spin, depending on how you choose to accessorise it.

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Deepalakshmis Stand In Welcome, Infectious Calm On Their Faces

Deepalakshmis Stand In Welcome, Infectious Calm On Their Faces

India has a one-of-a-kind bronze tradition. It began in the recesses of Southern India upon the time of the Pallava dynasty rulers, who were generous with their commissions for local artisans. Temple bronzes had been a thing of Southern life till that point in time, but it was with Chola patronage that the medium gained prominence. South India has been the home of bronze since then - to this day the region produces the most exquisite bronzes, temple and otherwise. The technique is ancient and painstakingly time- and labour-intensive, but it results in pieces of visual art as beauteous as the one you see on this page. It is a couple of youthful Indian beauties called deepalaskhmis ('deepa' is the word for the flame of homemade Indian lamps).

The deepalaskhmi figure is supposed to be placed at the entrance to one's home or office. These gorgeous ladies bear a welcoming stance. The thalis in their hands are designed to hold a number of ghee lamps to be lit shortly before the arrival of visitors. They are dressed in traditional Indian silks and wear a world of shringar. Their hips are jutting out, their faces bearing an infectious calm. A parrot is perched on the gracious shoulder of each of the deepalakshmis, which is considered a symbol of romance in Indian culture. Note the traditional Indian hats that rest at an angle on the lovely heads of the ladies, and the multi-lateral lotus pedestals they are propped up on.

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