2.4.14

Nepalese ethnic jewelry: head ornaments

Nepali Newari girl wearing traditional necklace and head ornament

This is my fourth post dedicated to Nepalese ethnic jewelry. The previous ones were about nose ornaments, earrings and necklaces. And today's article will be focused on head ornaments. Perhaps, the most impressive head jewelry pieces belong to the women of Newar community. On the photo above you can see a girl wearing one of the most beautiful head decorations called lunya swan. This eye-catching piece is made of numerous floral and foliate elements and the whole composition looks much like a bunch of flowers with insects hovering over them. A touch of colour  is added in the form of red or green glass beads. It is worn like a hat on the back of the head and may be as large as 30 cm in diameter but the average size is between 15 and 20 cm.

photo source

Another interesting Newari head ornament called nyapu sikha is a pair of sets of five chains, one set attached to the hair on each side of the head. The five chains attached to interconnecting chains create a fan shape. Each main chain ends in a pendant.

Nepali girl wearing traditional head ornament and necklace

The sir bandi head ornament is popular not noly among Newari women but among other ethnic groups. The name that literally means "to bind the head". Three bands, one following the hair part, and two curving around the temples, are connected at the forehead where they support a pendant, usually in a shape of a crescent with additional red or green glass stones.

photo  source 

An important head jewelry among the Gurung, Kirati and some other ethnic groups is a large hair pin called chandra ma, tara or kilip. This is a pin up to 15 cm long in the shape of a crescent moon. Sometimes the moon cradles the sun. The pin may be worn anywhere on the head with the points of the crescent either up or down.

photo courtesy Belinda Meggitt

Women of the Tibeto-Nepalese groups have their own distinctive head ornaments. The women from Muktinath on the photo above are wearing shyule, a serpent inspired headdress. It is merely a strip of red cloth following the part of the hair and hanging down far on the back. It is decorated with large stones of turquoise and rectangular silver and gold plaques fastened to the cloth band. At the tail end agate, glass, shell and amber beads are added.

photo courtesy Belinda Meggitt

Another interesting head ornament of this ethnic group is budje. Just as the previous ornament the budje is a long strip of red fabric but instead of  hanging down it is wrapped around the head twice. The front part is decorated with multiple rows of pearls and beads of coral and turquoise. Strands of pearls interspersed with coral and turquoise beads and ending in gold disks fall on the forehead.

 photo source

Phul head ornament is also popular among the women of different ethnic groups of Nepal. It is a large gold disk intricately decorated with floral and foliate motifs. The disks are usually 15 cm in diameter and may have a stone decoration in the center, such a coral carved with the image of Hindu god Ganesh. The ornament is worn either on top of the head or on the braid at the nape of the neck.

Nepali Tharu girl wearing traditional head ornament and necklace

And finally, a head ornament of women of the Tharu group. Called ali band it is a silver band that runs from the centre of the forehead over the part of the hair and around the sides of the head. It is very similar with sir bandi but the Tharu version is large with a prominent centre design and may not have the centre band.


11 comments:

  1. Lunya swan - what a beautiful name for a gorgeous piece of jewellery. All the metal banded headpieces are just stunning. xxx

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  2. I've seen them on markets but never actually seen a woman wearing them. Absolutely stunning - and a lovely name! x

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  3. Beautiful jewelry and very clear information. Thank you!
    Leonor
    www.ethnicadornment.com

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  4. Wow, never seen anything like this before. Beautiful! So many details!

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  5. A great review of the variosity of the head jewelry of the women in your country. How amazing they all look. Particularly the little girl in picture one and three. Her beautiful eyes are emphazised by her gorgeous head ornament.
    Have a wonderful weekend dear Olga!
    Sabine xxx

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  6. What a wonderfully colorful and intricate world we live in! I admire all these pieces, thank you so much for introducing us to this exotic corner of our world, Olga! It always makes me wonder - why did we mostly stop wearing amazing decorative pieces like these? Why we prefer simplistic outfits compare to what our ancestors were wearing (you know, our Slavic headpieces were very intricate and colorful as well!).

    My favorite ones are lunya swan (I agree, such a pretty name - now we all will remember it :) and budje. I have a box collection, and the one from Tibet resembles budje - it has red fabric and beads, pieces of turquoise and coral all over it. It would be interesting to learn the meaning of all the intricate elements of these pieces. :)

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  7. wonderful writing as always when you introduce the culture jewelry. I love the first name of Lunya Swan and I have seen the seen sir bandi before - my friend brought when she back from India :)
    My favorite are jewelry on the last pictures - they are gorgeous and so that girl who wearit.

    Have a wonderful day friend,

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  8. Very interesting and also really beautiful. Nepalese women and jewelry; they sure wear bold statement pieces! Impressive.

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  9. Nice one! I like the outfit of the characters. Wish i could do the same thing too but I am not that techie. i like the outfit of “from farmer to warden”.. really interesting. Jewelry in Fashion

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