Month 1 : Museum Object

The “brief” for month one entailed visiting a museum, picking an object to document, researching it and deconstructing-reconstructing it over the next couple of weeks.

Since the Goverment Museum in Bangalore is currently shut for renovations (it houses some of the oldest artefacts in Karnataka) I decided to go to the Museum of Art & Photograph (MAP). While the do house a plethora of interesting and old artefacts, not all of them were available for public view. On display were 3 objects that I could choose from that fit the criteria. As a part of the VISIBLE/INVISIBLE: Representation of Women in Art through the MAP Collection, I chose the Hair Ornament (Kedige), Accession number : SCU.01491 from Karnataka or Maharashtra (mid 19th century).

I was drawn to the object due to it’s form and ornamentation taking inspiration from the Kedige/Kedagi or Kewda flower (screw-pine flower). The flower is usually worn atop a hair bun or tucked at the beginning of a braid to infuse it’s fragrance in the hair. The hair ornament is worn similarly and is a stylised adaptation of the flower shown below.

The ornament is crafted from sheet gold. It is possible that a thin sheet of gold, would have been struck against a die (image below) to take its shape. The ornaments thus produced by the die would have been worn in the hair.

Image: V&A Museum (Accession number : IS.4-1993)

Some other jewellery from the 18th/19th century that ties back stylistically in terms of motifs, forms and design to the Kedige inspired hair ornament.

From Left to Right: Top: Silver hair ornament from Himachal Pradesh (India), 20th Century, V&A Museum (Accession number: IS.588-2019) | Bottom: Gold hair ornament with Goddess Laxmi from India, 19th Century, The Met (Accession number: 15.95.124) |

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