Documenting Beary jewellery

Different types of ‘Aranjnana’ (Girdles)

Owing to various reasons, this community off late has been witnessing a gradual decline in number of people wearing the ethnic jewellry. Confined to a handful of senior citizens wearing the ethnic wear, Beary Sahithya Academy took up the challenge of protecting these jewelleries so that the future generation can see the glimpses of the intricate designs.

Speaking to City Herald, Beary Sahithya Academy President M B Abdul Rehman said that the younger generation conspicuously has very little knowledge about the beary ethnic jewellry for various reasons. During the Beary Women’s Convention held recently, over 50 per cent of the women expressed their desire to learn more about the old jewellry, provided they are given an opportunity.

This prompted the Academy to tour far and wide in the district and document the beary jewellry. However, the President says that what they could collect was just the tip of the iceberg as the beary novelties are like a huge ocean.

“The young women like to remodel or redesign antique jewellery. Due to this trend, most of the precious antique jewellry have been melted furnaces across the district. However, some of the well-known ‘Tharavad’ (families) still have some of the ancient pieces safe intact with them. We could manage to get those jewelleries documented,” said Rehman adding that when they went into field to document the jewellry they realised that the ornaments have actually become obsolete as they do not seem fashionable to the younger generation.

“Since the gold prices shot up to skies, we could not acquire the jewelleries. Hence, we modified the plan and today we have documented the jewellery in the form of photographs,” said Rehman adding that the Academy has to take people in to confidence before clicking the pictures of the jewellery.

As of now, the Academy has over 50 to 60 ethic jewelleries documented. But the President feels there is a long way to go.

Remembering the contributions of some of the famous Tharavads like the family of Aivathoklu in Sullia, M H Family of Moodabidri and Matta House in Uppinangady, he said that the Academy had visited several interior places in search of exquisite beary jewelleries.

He said that, of the Beary jewelleries, ‘Alikath,’ the exclusive ear wear was found easily as there are still some elderly women who wear it.

“Though on the verge of being obsolete, Alikath has some sort of religious sentiments attached to it. So probably it is in use still. However, we do not see any youngsters wearing the Alikath,” he said adding that there are two types of Alikath- ‘Ket Alikath’ (a Alikath with just the design) and ‘Illi Alikath’ (Alikath with tiny gold designs hanging at the edge).The Alikath is a set of three or seven ear accessories gifted by the father to the bride on the occasion of the wedding. This is pierced from the ear lobe till the upper cartilage, to be removed only after the death of the woman.

The Academy could document some exclusive ‘Vole’ ear studs, ‘Misri male,’ ‘Uruku maale,’ ‘Malligemaale’ (resembling tender jasmine buds), ‘Kothambarimaale’ (resembling coriander seeds) along with ‘Kaalsarapoli,’ Paijanige (anklets), ‘Aranjnana’ (girdles) etc.Rehman informed that though some of the jewellry are worn by other communities of the Tulunadu, the pattern and designs of the Beary jewellery are very distinct and easily identifiable.

“Initially, we had the target of bringing out a book on Beary jewellery. With the existing photographs, we will hold an exhibition soon and when the documentation reaches a good volume, we will be release the book,” he said adding that the Beary community has a wide range of bangles or ‘Kaibale’ which needs to be documented.

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