Jewellery of Bihar & Jharkhand

Jewellery of Bihar & Jharkhand


Bihar has a rich tradition of jewellery-making. Tribals wear a variety of jewellery made from natural materials as also from bell-metal and brass, especially as anklets and bracelets. Delicate ear rings worked in filigree with various designs are worn by the Santhal women. Small bells or ghungroos are held together by delicate chains and worn by the women. Even today the tribals use wild grass twisted into necklaces as ornaments. Bright feathers are used, both by the men and the women, to decorate their hair and turbans. Munda girls wear necklaces of beads, silver, and brass. A lot of the tribal jewellery has designs of flowers, berries, and leaves. The jewellery worn by the peasants of Bihar takes its designs and motifs from nature and uses floral patterns. The paunchi, which is a bracelet made of hundreds of small silver or brass jasmine buds strung together, is a faithful replica of jasmine buds. Women also wear a kardhani, for the waist and chudha for the wrists. Tikuli is ornamental work on fine glass done with wafer-thin tabaque (gold or silver leaves) and worn by women on their foreheads. The jewellery worn by the Muslim women is quite different from that worn by the Hindu women. The silver jewellery imitates the kundan work made for the Muslim wearers and the hanging jhumkis are more fragile in appearance than those worn by the Hindu peasant women. The border areas have both an Indian and Nepalese influence. Some interesting jewellery forms are associated with the local superstitions and religious customs. Small amulet boxes are made to ward off the evil eye and are worn by the people of all communities.

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