Monday, 21 January 2013

mundane monday - # 13

i should probably be calling today's pic 'anything-but-mundane' monday. unlike most other weeks where the photos are mostly of things that are in normal, everyday use, this week's subject is a bit different. its beautiful, vintage, and not something commonly used everyday.

this is a rakkodi (or rakodi or raakodi) - which is a traditional indian ornament or hair-piece, worn in the back-centre of a woman's hair. once a commonly worn ornament, it is today used only by classical dancers and as part of bridal hair-dos. it also remains a part of the traditional ornaments adorning deities in most south indian temples. and since such jewellery was originally meant for the use of temple deities, its called temple jewellery to this day.

the temple jewellery originally crafted for deities and royalty would have been in gold, but the later versions for dancers were made in silver, set with stones and given a gold plating. the traditionally used stones were a deep red and green, along with pearls. the special ruby-red stones are called 'kemp' and have a beautiful deep maroon shade, which is often difficult to find in modern day stones.

From mundane monday

coming to the piece that is in my possession, it is a silver one, passed down from my maternal grandmother. my mother's earliest recollection of it is around 1960, maybe it was bought even earlier. the piece is missing one or two stones here and there, but those that remain still retain their quiet, classy beauty, stirring your imaginations of life in the days gone by. it sits in a small wooden box, which has its own distressed vintage charm.

for those who are not familiar with them, another interesting piece of info about these traditional temple jewellery hair ornaments is that they never have any kind of clip or clasp to attach them ! they are tied to the hair with pieces of black string (black because indian women have always had black hair, unless coloured in modern days), and can only be done by those who have practice and experience in doing so.

btw, i hadnt posted about the edits to the photos in the past few weeks... as always i use nothing more than picasa to touch my pics, and this week i chose the 'focal b&w' effect in picasa which has made only the centre portion of the pic in colour. also added a little black vignetting around the corners, and used a little 'soften'ing.


  1. are these ornaments still in vogue ?

    with passage of time, many ornaments are lost and people do not get to appreciate the purpose of something.

    i would be interested though to know why this ornament existed... what purpose would it have served apart from an aspect of savings.

    1. like i said earlier, its usage today is mainly by dancers who perform indian classical dances like bharatanatyam and kuchipudi, and as part of the bridal costume in many indian weddings.

      till the first half or so of the 20th century, it was common for indian women to wear such pieces of jewellery very frequently - i could give you a whole list of different jewellery worn in different parts of the body, and there are many pieces just for adorning the hair & braids/plaits :)

      jewellery is generally considered a form of saving only when it is in pure gold. such pieces are more of the costume kind.



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