Nakshi Jewellery- Gods Manifested in Gold
Posted in : Nakshi Jewellery on by : MangatraiNeeraj
Nakshi jewellery is a fine example of Indian heritage, craftsmanship and culture. It tells the timeless tale of India’s divine and regal spiritual heritage. Nakshi jewellery has been a part of trousseaus forever, but it is enjoying its moment in the sun amongst millennials today due to its timeless brilliance.
The origin of Nakshi jewellery
Nakshi jewellery dates back centuries. Historians profess that its origin is in the Chola dynasty, way back in the 9th century.
Also called Temple jewellery, this style of jewellery is typically worn during occasions like marriages, birth ceremonies and such.
It’s classic southern Indian jewellery without which marriages are still not solemnized. This type of jewellery is made by carving traditional religious motifs like the figurines of gods and goddesses on a gold plate by skilled ‘karigars’.
It also so happens that the southern part of India is home to different temples dedicated to different deities. And as we know, the idols in the famous south Indian temples are adorned with jewellery crafted using pure gold and embellished with an array of precious gems.
These jewellery pieces are the oldest examples of Nakshi jewellery.
In addition to the idols, the temple or theatrical artists and dancers also wore this jewellery for their mythological performances in temple premises.
Salient features of Nakshi jewellery
Nakshi jewellery designs are commonly used in Kundan jewellery in North India and Temple jewellery in South India.
The Nakshi jewellery collection usually includes earrings, nose ornaments, necklaces, bangles, waist-belt, and anklets amongst other pieces. Nakshi harams are the most popular temple-inspired pieces of Nakshi jewellery that are sought after for weddings and festive occasions.
Brides also adorn their long hair with Nakshi hair accessories. Waist belts carrying temple motifs and adorned with bells are extremely popular too.
Common Nakshi jewellery design motifs
This type of jewellery carries a lot of religious sentiments and has many religious motifs emblazoned on it. The designs consist mainly of themes based on gods and goddesses like Lakshmi, Narasimha, Rama, Krishna, Ganesh, apsaras, etc.
Other common motifs are derived from the elements of nature like animals, birds, flowers, fruits, trees, etc. Peacock, elephant, mango, flowers, vines and leaves are extremely common.
A number of Nakshi jewellery pieces carry the image of goddess Lakshmi sitting on a lotus flower.
Due to this, Nakshi jewellery pieces form excellent heirloom pieces as well. They are passed down from one generation to another with a great deal of love and care.
The heritage of handcrafting Nakshi Jewellery
An artisan usually gets the jewellery design on a photograph or paper made by a jewellery designer and he takes it forward from here by carving in gold in the required shape.
The making of Nakshi Jewellery involves a lot of manual work because of the very detailed and intricate designs. It takes anywhere from 2 to 25 days to complete a piece of Nakshi jewellery, depending on the complexity of the design.
As Nakshi work has originated in Bengal, many Nakshi jewellery artisans are from the state. Nakshi jewellery is being handcrafted by the ancient family clans in small, sleepy towns like Gokak town in Belagavi district. Presently, around 800 artisans in Gokak town eke out a living by making Nakshi temple jewellery. They have inherited the skills from their ancestors and are taking the legacy forward.
They work tirelessly to meet the demand for this type of jewellery as it is becoming very popular amongst millennials and foreigners. Today, traditional Nakshi jewellery is no longer confined to the deities or temples. This form of jewellery is getting back in vogue among young people for its intricate design and delicate, detailed craftsmanship that represents the fusion of Indian tradition with modern kaarigari.
South Indian Nakshi jewellery has become a fashion statement today. Hipsters sport traditional Nakshi jewellery designs with Western dresses to give an Indian twist that is uniquely theirs. Patrons are recognizing the merits and unique workmanship of this type of jewellery and are adapting it to suit modern silhouettes globally.