A modest unpretentious form close to the style of an amulet choker : just a pendant and a cord-ring, however artistically threaded, for holding it around the neck, the piece of ornament strikes the eye by its stunning simplicity which slips unnoticed into the zone of beauty and the astonished mind fails to determine which way to define its encounter, as one with beauty or with naïve simplicity. Irrespective of which way one decides, on a humble reaper’s tanned neck bent over her suckle, all alone in a mustard field, or on the proud high-held gold-like glowing neck of a ramp-walker or of one performing on a stage, in its primitive bearing or ultra-modern connections, this simple piece of jewellery reveals its magic with alike magnitude; even an expensive ornament might hardly create the effects that this humble piece creates : the melancholic solitary mind of a lone peasant girl and also the vanity of one in the midst of crowds of thousands.
Broadly the choker consists of two parts : a sterling silver pendant styled like an amulet box, and an elaborately threaded tri-coloured silk cord with knob and loop terminals to join two ends. The sections of the cord close to the pendant on two sides, obviously falling around the neck’s visible front, have been wrought with rings of silver, beads and yarns of contrasting colours and have been braided in brownish silk thread to suit a wider range of skin-colour. Practically an amulet-box, the pendant, a vertical rectangle, consists of a beautifully defined obverse and a plain reverse – a simple but finely polished plain sheet fixed and permanently soldered. The obverse has in its centre a window comprising a vertical rectangle corresponding to the pendant’s dimensions. It has inside it a glass-screen fixed water-proof for revealing the deity image contained within. The four framing sides of the obverse around the window have been adorned with die-stamped floral and leaf arabesques comprising beautifully curving vines, flower-like patterns and four larger flower-forms on the four corners.
The pendant has on its top three loops the front sections of which three die-stamped flower-forms adorn. The cord passes through these loops to hold it on. On the bottom, the pendant has five loops, similar but smaller in size, with their frontal sections manipulated with identical die-stamped floral motifs. Each of these five loops has attached to it a bunch of three tiny silver balls, a chased-dots design cresting one of the three in each bunch. A beautiful image of Shrinathaji, Lord Krishna’s deity-form enshrining the Nathadwara seat of Pushtimarga in Rajasthan, rendered on inner-side of the back sheet, has been installed inside the window. Exactly corresponding to the Nathadwara deity form the image inside the window represents Krishna holding Mount Govardhana on his left hand, a bunch of lotuses in his right and two cows flank him on either side. In iconography, style of ensemble and paraphernalia the image is a perfect representation of Shrinathaji image.
Divine images, iconic, aniconic or represented by symbols, more particularly those duly installed but also otherwise, are universal and timeless amulets. Under Hindu system Lord Krishna, Devi or Durga, Hanuman and Ganesha, besides Lord Shiva as aniconic ‘ling’ and Lord Vishnu as ‘Vishnu-pada’ – his footprints, are the most powerful of them. This amulet enshrining Shrinathaji, the Mount Govardhana holding image of Lord Krishna, portrays his victory over the forces of destruction, though this time not contained in evil but in the divine form of Indra. Krishna not only subdues him but also put him to the right path. The story of his life is replete with acts he undertook for eradicating evil and destructive force one after the other. Obviously, his image worn close to one’s heart is bound to fill the wearer with undefeatable power and would enable him to overcome all forces that intend to harm him, or even others. Otherwise also, for any Krishna’s devotee a pendant with such fine image of him is a possession he can pride on.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.
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