Category Archives: Symbolism

Belonging and Belongings in the Land of the Iceni – Natasha Harlow

Belonging and Belongings in the Land of the Iceni – Natasha Harlow

This paper explores the social and cultural transitions which occurred during the late Iron Age and early Roman periods (circa 100 BCE-200 CE) in the modern counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. I discuss issues of identity (belonging) and how people may have responded to these changes through portable personal objects (belongings). I use the… Continue Reading

#Jezwecan and the adornment of Unity- by Sarah Corbett

#Jezwecan and the adornment of Unity- by Sarah Corbett

Jewellery has been used as a tool of communication throughout history. Jewellery has the ability to convey a message to others. During certain points in history jewellery became a clear and definite statement of a political movement. In the Uk in 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, she developed a new… Continue Reading

Sadhvi

Sadhvi

Around 10% of Sadhus are women, they are called Sadhvis, most women become Sadhvi following the death of their husband, so young Sadhvi are rarely seen. A Sadhvi is a Hindu holy woman, she is dedicated to achieving Moska (liberation) through meditating and contemplating Brahman. Sadhbi in sanscrit means a woman who renounces material attatchments,… Continue Reading

Yoruba Textile – Lightning Strike by Duncan Clarke

Yoruba Textile –  Lightning Strike by Duncan Clarke

Why might a rich Yoruba lady living in southern Nigeria over a century ago choose to have zigzags embroidered on her expensive wrapper cloth? This is a unique piece with no similar examples known and no ethnographic context to explain it, so we can only speculate based on our knowledge of Nigerian textile history and… Continue Reading

Maasai

Maasai

  The Maasai people live nomadically in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, also known as the great lakes region. The origins of the Maasai people has been traced back to the 15th century in the lower Nile valley. The Maasai worship a single deity called Enkai or Engai; Enkai has two personas, Enkai Narok (… Continue Reading

A Tribal Rite of Spring in Paris by Barbara Ann Steinberg

A Tribal Rite of Spring in Paris by Barbara Ann Steinberg

In the early 20th Century, European artists stripped antiquities and African tribal art of their religious significance. The pieces, with bold, minimalist shapes and lines, influenced Modernism and Cubism in design, only, as artists explored the relationship between humanity and the Industrial Revolution. Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes was acclaimed for bringing modern dance to Parisian audiences… Continue Reading

Kara and Kirpan

Kara and Kirpan

  In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhism, created the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib. This occasion transformed Sikhs into a family of soldier saints. During the transformative festival Guru Gobind Singh came out of a tent holding a sword, and challenged any Sikh who was prepared to give his life to… Continue Reading

Naxi People – China

Naxi People – China

The Naxi people live in Yunnan province China. They migrated to the region from the yellow river area to south China in 770 – 221 BC and settled in the areas near to the Yalong and Jinsha rivers before 221 – 201 BC. The Naxi peoples have their own written language called ‘Dongba characters’. They… Continue Reading

Scarification in Africa.

Scarification in Africa.

Scarification is a permanent form of adornment which has been practised throughout history. Evidence from Saharan rock paintings suggest it’s use in 8000 – 5000 BC. By cutting the skin and manipulating the healing process or by branding, intricate designs can be created. Scarification in an indigenous context is mostly practised in Africa and Australia.… Continue Reading

Belarusian Ruchnik

Belarusian Ruchnik

A ruchnik is a traditional ornamental towel. This towel is a piece of textile which embodies many significant concepts within Belarusian life. In fact the ruchnik are a highly important part of the national culture. The designs of the ruchnik are a mixture of art and symbolism and are seen as representations of the threads… Continue Reading

Asyk By Sarah Corbett

Asyk By Sarah Corbett

The Asyk Worn by the Turkoman peoples of Central Asia, the asyk is an imposing adornment which is suspended from the hair by use of plaits as a back ornament. There are many sizes and decorative styles, all of them incorporate a symbol which to the Western eye is a heart, although it is more… Continue Reading

PRAYER BEADS by Leonor Arnó

PRAYER BEADS by Leonor Arnó

In western cultures we may associate prayer beads to Christianity and Middle Ages. In fact their use is universal and pre-dates the Christian Era. Even today the religions of nearly two thirds of the world’s population utilize some form of prayer beads: Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. The use of prayer beads came from the early… Continue Reading

The Lingam Necklace

The Lingam Necklace

A Lingam necklace is a silver casket worn to contain a piece of smooth oval stone called a Lingum. The Lingam ( Ishtalinga) stone is a natural river worn stone primarily of Jasper found in the Narmada river ( a tributary of the Ganges River) in India. The lingam stone represents the God Shiva. In… Continue Reading

Symbolism – The Frog. By Sarah Corbett

Symbolism – The Frog. By Sarah Corbett

The symbol of forces perpetuating life.   Karakalpak – A type of Tu’yme worn in Central Asia by the Karakalpak peoples is known as Qurbaqa meaning the frog.     Egypt – The frog was a symbol of life and fertility, millions of frogs were born each year after the inundation of the Nile, which… Continue Reading

Collector – Toya Erickson

Collector – Toya Erickson

Khamsa – The Hand in North African Jewelry The khamsa, or hand, is a widely used symbol in North African jewelry. In design it can take the form of a realistic human hand with four fingers and a thumb, or it can take a stylized form which is more representational. Either way, the khamsa is… Continue Reading

Tanit – The original great goddess. By Sarah Corbett

Tanit – The original great goddess. By Sarah Corbett

Tanit –  Thinit – Tanis – Rat Tanit – Lady of Carthage – Lady of the Sanctuary – Tinit – Tank – The face of Ba’al – The heavenly Goddess – Tanith – The heavenly virgin. All are names to represent the original great goddess, an ancient and powerful force and symbol of fertility and… Continue Reading

Symbolism – Tihuna. By Sarah Corbett

Symbolism – Tihuna. By Sarah Corbett

The language of adornment The drive to adorn oneself is considered by some to be one of the most basic human drives, following closely the need to procreate and survive. The act of personal adornment is far from a simple exercise in beauty, and can communicate much about a person and their living environment. The… Continue Reading