FREE SHIPPING | COD | EASY RETURNS
0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total
    Check Out Continue Shopping

    Prelude - The Blog

    This Fabulous Maharani Was No Ordinary Woman

    This Fabulous Maharani Was No Ordinary Woman

    Sita Devi, also known as Princess Karam, was widely regarded as one of the most glamorous women of her day. She was a daughter of the Raja of Kumaon. At age 13, she married Karamjit Singh, a younger son of the Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala. She was fluent in several European languages and was considered to have a strong sense of style, which made her a muse for several photographers from Cecil Beaton to Man Ray.

    The princess caused a quite a stir at a New York ball in 1957. It is said, the Maharani sold a pair of bejeweled anklets to Harry Winston. They had several large emeralds and diamonds. The jeweller set these stones into a spectacular necklace that was bought by the Duchess of Windsor Wallace Simpson. The Duchess wore this to the ball, also attended by Sita Devi. When other guests were admiring the necklace. The Maharani was heard to exclaim that those jewels looked just as nice on her feet. The embarrassed Duchess returned the necklace to Winston. 

    Legend has it, she even commissioned Van Cleef & Arpels, a French luxury jewellery brand, to make tongue cleaners made of solid gold exclusively for her. Now, that's what we call a fabulous lifestyle.

    Mandana Wall Art - One of Rajasthan's Oldest Art Form

    Mandana Wall Art - One of Rajasthan's Oldest Art Form

    Famed for warding off evil and acting as a good luck charm, this beautiful tribal art of Mandana is derived from the word ‘Mandan’ referring to decoration and beautification and comprises simple geometric forms like triangles, squares and circles to decorate houses.

    Mandana in the local language refers to ‘drawing’ in the context of chitra mandana or ‘drawing a picture’. Historically, it has been practiced for centuries by women of the Meena community to decorate their homes for special or festive occasions. Among others, these events included communal religious worship, festivals and fasts and lastly auspicious days in the life of the community such as birth or marriage. 

    Since they were drawn for spiritual purposes, the pictures usually consisted of the main deity of the festival. This served two main purposes - to invoke the deity of the festival and to symbolise the gods and goddesses.

    John Fernandes, the Master of Realism-Impressionism

    John Fernandes, the Master of Realism-Impressionism

    John Fernandes was an Indian painter most known for his figurative paintings. His technique was legendary, and his repertoire, as large as his heart. Pencil, watercolours, conte, charcoal and oils were the media he used in his landscapes, figure studies, and portraits. To the female figure he brought sensuality. The caressing drapery, its translucence, the movement of the body, the definite and defining strokes of light, the control of mass and light and shade, the depth, are what make a John Fernandes painting stand out.

    His wife Agnes, who organises his exhibition, said, “His passion for painting was so great that he wouldn’t eat, drink or sleep. I see him in his paintings, I don’t feel he has gone at all.”

    Eri Silk - A Peaceful Silk Coming from the Northeast of India.

    Eri Silk - A Peaceful Silk Coming from the Northeast of India.

    Eri silk or is a deep rooted tradition in the Northeast regions of India, particularly in the state of Assam. Due to its growing popularity, it is also being produced in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The reason why the production of eri silk is particularly fascinating, is because it is processed without killing the silkworm. Eri silk are the pride of the North-East of India, with over 95% of it produced there.

    The balmy climate of Northeast India is very favourable for the eri culture. Rural and tribal women traditionally carry out the processing, spinning and weaving as part of their daily life. For around 30 days the silkworm grows and munches on castor leaves until it reaches its final size. It then starts to spin its cocoon, which takes another 15 days. Once the moth leaves its cocoon, the silk is processed.

    The status of eri clothes in the folklife of Assam is reflected in an old Assamese proverb ‘Dair pani, erir kani’, which implies that while curd (yoghurt) cools, eri cloth warms up a person (Chakravorty et al, 2010). Nevertheless, this eri silk has excellent qualities: it is very strong, combining the elegance of silk with the comfort of cotton and warmth of wool. The more it is worn, the softer it gets and it is a great textile to be worn all year round. Its texture, especially when woven with handspun yarn, is profoundly beautiful – always changing with the charismatic touch of imperfection.

    What makes Eri Silk distinctively unique and the best amongst the vast ranges of Silk counterparts is its beauty that is added upon by texturing. Eri Silk is also textured, but the texturing is finer than mulberry silk, which ultimately adds up to its breathtaking yellow sheen. With a global interest in sustainability, today, Eri silk is gaining a rather loyal following.

    Raja Ravi Varma, the Pioneer of Modern Indian Art

    Raja Ravi Varma, the Pioneer of Modern Indian Art

    Many of us recognise the image of Goddess Lakshmi, clad in a nonchalantly draped saree, standing amid a lotus. This portrayal of Lakshmi emerging from the lotus, was painted by realist Indian painter, Raja Ravi Varma.

    Born in 1848 in the village of Kilimanoor, Kerala, Ravi Varma belonged to royal lineage. Lore has it that he was spotted drawing pictures on the walls of his house by his uncle. His uncle then brought him to the royal palace of Thiruvananthapuram where the young boy was taught how to paint. He grew to be the celebrated Raja Ravi Varma, feted as the father of modern Indian art for his ability to fuse European academic techniques with Indian sensibilities.

    Upon gaining popularity, Ravi Varma was invited by the Maharaja of Travancore to demonstrate his talents north of the Periyar River, and was commissioned to paint a series of mythological paintings. 

    What emerged out of those commissions were iconic pieces of art such as, Shakuntala, an oil-on-canvas painting of the half-nymph of the Mahabharata, in which she’s seen writing a love letter to her husband, Dushyanta. The image of a beautiful woman daydreaming, clad in a bright yellow sari, lying on a carpet of green grass in a forest, surrounded by her friends became what came to be known to the rest of the world as the 'traditional Indian woman.'

    The images he created were a composite created out of what he saw during his travels across the country – the colour of the skin was from North India, the way the sari was draped was Maharashtrian and the jewellery was usually from south India.

    Today, decades after his death, Ravi Varma is still remembered, and celebrated for his paintings of beautiful, shapely sari-clad women and for setting the visual language for India in the nineteenth century.