Shringar Patti, Maang Tikka, and the Jada Naga

What is the difference between a shringar patti, a maang tikka, and the jada naga? Many brides wear all of three pieces.

A shringar-patti is worn on forehead, and it includes a fringe worn on either side of the face, consisting of a star or geometrical shaped pieces linking to each other. Hung from it are pipal leaves or stars or drops. The maang tikka is the crescent shaped plaque, sometimes enameled, suspended on to the middle forehead. However, the Jada Naga has a hallowed place in Hindu tradition and mythology.

Krishna is said to have defeated the evil multiheaded serpent Kaliya, who was poisoning the Yamuna River. In the 13th Century, the disciple Sidhendra Yogi had a vision. It was a dance drama where Krishna’s favorite consort, Satyabhama, expresses her desire for total devotion to her Lord through conjugal union. Yogi found the dancers in Kuchipudi, a small village in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, India.

The Jada is a decoration for a floor-length braid, which symbolizes the black cobra Kiliya. Antique Jada Nagas were made of cloth cord with a choti at the bottom — the serpent’s head. Modern pieces can be all gold.

Here are three examples of antique Jada Nagas:

From the Creative Museum

These two are on display in The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.


For more scholarly research, I recommend the book “Dance Dialects of India,” by Ragini Devi.

Halo 3

Halos were the headpieces of sacred illuminated manuscripts. This Nativity Scene, with the Virgin Mary and two angels adoring the Christ child, is a cutting from a choir book. Painted in Milan, c. 1495, by Fr. Antonio da Monza, the Holy Family is depicted in a detailed, colorful landscape. The halos are created with liquid gold and unburnished gold leaf. This particular piece is being auctioned at Christie’s with an estimated price of $40,000 on July 6 as part of the Arcana Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts.

Hair decorations were always symbiotically connected to the ideas and beliefs of their time. In these manuscripts, hallowed women illustrated Biblical text, which was set to Gregorian Chant.

Da Monza’s illustration accompanies the ‘P’ from the Introit ‘Puer natus est,’ from the Third Christmas Mass. Here is the full text in its original form.

Text Latin:

“Puer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis, cujus imperium super humerum ejus et vocabitur nomen ejus, magni consilii Angelus. Cantate Domino canticum novum quia mirabilia fecit.

Text English:

A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us:
Whose government is upon His shoulder:
and His Name shall be called, the Angel of Great Counsel.

Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle:
because He hath done wonderful things.

(This post is dedicated to Dr. William Entriken, Mrs. Susie Taylor, and Dr. Harold Rosenbaum.)

Pax in terra.

Creative Museum: Persian Ivory Combs

One way to follow human civilization’s advancement is to study the H comb, as it went from utilitarian lice extractor to life-revealing work of art. The French carved masterpieces into their liturgical and secular ivory combs. Turkic tribesmen in Central Asia attached silver frames to wood, and decorated them with carving and jewels. Every H comb has larger, more spaced tines on one side, and delicate thin tines on the other.

In Persia, artists painted colorful miniature scenes of Sultans and their women, which represented the way people ate, drank, dressed, cooked, and spoke to each other in Persian society. Here are three examples from The Creative Museum.

Sultans, eating.

Sultans playing polo?

This comb is missing its close-knit tines on top, but the painting on ivory is detailed and in excellent condition.

The back has a floral design.

In this example, the woman on the far left is using a decorative comb to hold her scarf in place.

So what do you think are they doing to the chickens?

Miriam Slater Collection: Ivory Kanzashi

Today, I wanted to celebrate the taste of our author Miriam Slater. Don’t let this piece fool you. “The truth is never pure and rarely simple.” This Meiji kanzashi is a painting within a sculpture.

Within the bird perched on a branch, is the stem and flower of a Japanese hibiscus. Notice the stick painted in beige, as the natural ivory is left alone to show the leaves. Atop the bird is the flower painted in gold with a coral center.

Silver Hair Combs

Just as butterflies adorn my combs,
So the butterfly effect has adorned my life.
The matching of pictures by chance,
Alain mathematics. Thank you.

Hello. :-)

On the Silver Salon Forums, Polly wrote, “I have long hair that I like putting up with silver hair combs. I’ve recently admitted that the accumulation is turning into a collection. I was considering asking Scott to make a slide show of my combs, but I don’t have all that many yet, and I don’t actually know very much about them. So instead I’ll post a photo here and ask if anyone else shares my interest and would like to add their own.”

I think I’ll answer her. :-)

Alexander Evgenievich Yakovlev

Three months after Tsar Nicholas II fell in the February Revolution of 1917, Alexander Yakovlev left Petrograd for Peking. The Academy of Arts funded his two-year stay in China, Mongolia, and Japan. He returned with “Opera of Peking,” one of his greatest works.

Having already painted Michael Fokine and Anna Pavlova, he wrote, “In Peking, I was drawn to Chinese theatre, the sole remaining vestige of its ancient culture. … One feels that the actor is guided by a geometrical formula. The principal lines of the square are very distinct. The horizontals and verticals are opposed to the diagonals.”

Two of his vertical objects included the women’s headpieces.

Signed in Latin and dated 1918, “Opera in Peking” portrays regal, beautiful singers standing still, poised in sublime calmness. It sold for $1.3 million and change at Sotheby’s on June 7th.

Here is a photograph of the Peking Opera in 1932, which gives us the privilege of seeing what Yakovlev remembered when he put brush to canvas.

An Ebay Auction to Watch

I guess we’re going through an Empire comb phase. ;-) An Empire tiara top, hinged to either a shell or celluloid comb, is being auctioned on E-bay for 185 GBP at the moment. Does anyone think it looks like a married piece? The tiara is gorgeous. I see the 4 bidders on the board. They have feedback scores of 9, 15, 0, and 35. Someone is using a new account, or they are beginners. I will be interested to see if a new or experienced collector wins this.

UPDATE: Someone with a 342-feedback score outbid a newcomer with 9, and the married piece sold for $1500. The newcomer bid 14 times. The seller was absolutely honest. Unless the buyer already has the correct metal bottom, the seller won E-bay’s psychology game huge on this auction. I have to give the seller a “fair play.”

Magnificent Empire Combs

The Rococo style of jewelry making slipped into obscurity in 1785. Napoleon Bonaparte and his Empress Josephine brought the Empire style to prominence during his rule as Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. Combs had curves, elaborate floral designs and scrollwork to show off jewels or enamel paintings.

From 1820 to 1870, there was a revival of the Empire style, especially in Victorian England. Because of the Repoussé gold work, where artists hammered gold patterns by hand, I would date this comb c. 1840. The enameled butterflies are magnificent, and the comb resides in a museum.

Here are two magnificent Empire combs from the Creative Museum. The first one has real amethysts:

The second one has gold-inlaid lapis-lazuli stones alternating between instances of Napoleon’s laurel-wreath crown. Wow.

Jessica Beauchemin: A Question that Resides in My Step

par Jessica Beauchemin:

Une réflexion, un questionnement qui habite présentement ma démarche…
l’esthétique et l’utilité dans les ornements de coiffure contemporains.

L’esthétique est établie par plusieurs éléments : les formes, les couleurs,
les techniques, les matériaux employés, etc. Dans l’univers des ornements de
coiffure, ces éléments sont très variés. Prenons simplement l’exemple de la
forme, on peut parler soit de peignes, d’aiguilles, de couronnes, de
diadèmes, de barrettes, et ainsi de suite. Les époques, les cultures et les
modes ont modelé ces différents éléments. Ainsi, de nos jours, il me semble
exister une grande ouverture au niveau de l’esthétique de l’ornement de

La question de l’utilité m’apparaît plus délicate. D’un point de vue
littéral, l’ornement de coiffure se veut un accessoire-bijou décorant et/ou
supportant la coiffure. Certaines époques et cultures ont associé aux
ornements de coiffure des fonctions symboliques et sociales plus larges –
spiritualité, fertilité, rapport à l’autre, etc. Qu’en est-il maintenant?

L’ornement de coiffure contemporain est-il prisonnier de sa première
utilité, victime de son identité d’accessoire de tête?

Ne pourrait-il pas être, également, un média d’expression artistique

C’est-à-dire une « esthétique » inspirant la création d’ornements-sculptures
non utilitaires; telle, par exemple, la courtepointe. Traditionnellement
connu comme un objet utile au quotidien, la courtepointe a su évolué pour
devenir également un mode d’expression artistique accepté : la courtepointe
d’art. Peut-il en être de même pour l’ornement de coiffure?

Existe-t-il une ouverture, un intérêt, un marché pour l’ornement de coiffure
d’art contemporain?