10 Classic Newari Ornaments That You Probably Know About
Newari Ornaments, classic traditional ornaments with a rich history.
What is the first thing that you think about when you hear the word “Newari Girls?”
Let us guess – a cute girl wearing Hakupatasi and traditional ornaments right?
And you are not the only one who thinks of this image – in fact, this is one of the most common images that people make when they think of a typical Newari Girl. But why?
The simple answer is because of the uniqueness of the dresses and the ornaments. Now we have covered dresses for Newari Girls and Newari boys in another article. So here, let’s focus on Newari Ornaments.
As you may have guessed, there are tons of ornaments in Newari culture, each with its own value and uniqueness. On top of that, the way these ornaments are pronounced is quite unique as well. While this is being said, a lot of us don’t know what they are and what they are called. So without any further ado, let’s get to know them.
1) Luswan (लुं स्वाँ:)
This is a gold ornament that is worn at the center of the head. It is round in shape and has a large image of Lord Ganesh with a peacock at the top. The name of this ornament literally translates to “Golden Flower” as Lu(लुं) means Gold and Swan (स्वाँ:) translates to flower.
This unique piece of Newari ornament is usually worn by brides at weddings but we can also see this in some traditional festivals as well – usually major ones.
2) Tayo (तायो)
This is a large golden amulet that is filled with historical and cultural meanings. It is believed that the pointed shape in the pendant is a symbol of the Kathmandu Valley. Along with this, in the amulet, the facets of the pendant symbolizes the directions of the valley. On top of this, you can also see the multi-headed snake, which is a direct reference to the origin myth of the Kathmandu Valley.
If you look closer, you may notice that it’s center – the one under the hood of the snake, is vaguely similar to the shape of a stupa. Well, this is an intentional design meant as a reference to Swayambhu Stupa, which is also directly linked with the origin myth of the Newars and Kathmandu Valley.
3) Kilip (किलिप)
While the name of this Newari ornament may sound like it is derived from the English word “Clip” the ornament is undoubted of Newari Origin. As the name suggests, Kilip is indeed a hair clip, the only difference is that it is nowhere as ordinary as its western counterpart.
Kilip is an oval gold head ornament that is adorned with designs of flower clusters. While this is the base design for this Newari Ornament, you can find a peacock or a moon on the top.
Now is it unnecessarily dazzling? Definitely yes, but considering the fact that this ornament is only worn during major events like marriage and Ya: Mari Punhi, it needs to be dazzling.
4) Tikma (तिक्मा)
This is undoubtedly one of the most iconic of the Newari Ornaments. For those who don’t know what a Tikma is, it is a repousse-worked metal (ornamentation of metal in relief by pressing or hammering on the reverse side) plates sewn on the fabric. The fabric is usually red in color.
As for metal, they usually are made from copper, bronze, or gold. These plates are designed with motifs of flowers and peacocks and are decorated with glass beads, sewn together in the shape of a teardrop. They are usually worn during ceremonies.
5) Patachin Sikha (पताचीं सिख:)
This is one of the most common Newari Ornament that you can find out there. Simply put, Patachin Sikha is just a simple gold Necklace. But while this ornament is indeed simple and rather common, it is an important part of Newari culture and household.
6) Nyapu Sikha (न्यापू सिख:)
Nyapu Sikha is one of the most iconic Newari ornaments out there. Anyone with even the slightest bit of interest in Newari culture should easily be able to recognize this jewelry,
This is an ornament made from five gold chains connected at a single point adorned with the shape of the moon or a peacock. These 5 gold chains have many strings attached between them, making a web-like pattern. As you may already know, it is worn at the side of the head.
7) Pyakha Angu (प्याखं: अंगु)
Moving away from head wares and necklaces for a bit. Let’s talk a bit about the rings. Pyakhan Angu is some of the most well-known Newari ornaments. These uniquely shaped rings are worn in virtually every ceremony and tradition out there and you can easily spot them amongst the crowds of rings.
For those who are wondering about the meaning of its name, the name literally translates to “rings for dance” as “pyakha” translates to “Dance” and ‘Angu” translates to “ring”.
8) Asharfi Angu (आशार्फी अंगु)
These are a bit lesser known among the Newari ornaments out there. That being said, one can easily recognize this if one is into the Newari culture.
To put it simply, these are rings that are decorated with a copper or gold coin on top. Ashrafi literally translates to “gold coin”. Newari girls usually wear this ornament while celebrating major festivals and rituals like marriage and bara.
9) Makansi (मकंसी)
One of the most recognizable of the Newari Ornaments, Makasi is a uniquely shaped ear-rings of Newari culture. These earrings are shaped like a U-shaped pot, attached with a hook.
A piece of side information: Makansi is one of the key ornaments in the ritual called “janku” which is celebrated once a female reaches a certain age.
10) Kali (कलि)
All of us know what a Kali is – it is one of the most iconic Newari ornaments out there. For those who don’t know what a kali is, it is a rather large anklet (ornaments worn around the ankle) of the Newari culture. This anklet is designed with the motif of flowers with uniquely shaped teardrop ends.
Newari culture is a unique one filled with extensive history and a wide range of ornaments that links back to the start of the Kathmandu Valley. Naturally, the ones we mentioned here are just the ornaments at the tip of the iceberg.
While talking about Newari ornaments, one needs to remember that while in modern times, most of these are just seen as accessories and jewelry, each one of these has an extensive history behind them.
As a side note, when pronouncing the names of Newari ornaments do note the letters that end with “:” need to be pronounced for a bit longer.
Hope you found this interesting. If you have any suggestions for us, do let us know them in the comments. And as always, thank you for reading till the end.