All the assets in this article are a part of the WOVENSOULS collection and additional details of each asset may be viewed here on WovenSouls.com .\nPayal \u2026 a piece of traditional Indian jewelry and now also a popular name for girls. A name that conjures up images of soft pleasant melodious tinkling bells as a woman sways around the home going about her daily life.\n\nAntique Jhanjhar Weighing over 1 kg\n\n\u00a0\nThe fashion of the day is in keeping with the prices of silver that has gone up 3 times in the past decade. So girls today wear delicate chains that are usually less than a millimeter in diameter.\n\nAntique Jhanjhar from Rajasthan\n\nBut in the days of the past, when silver was cheap and seen as a metal that cleansed, these were common bridal ornaments, even among the tribals.\nRegional ornaments had a different composition of alloy in the ornament \u2013 that no doubt included silver as the main metal, but the additional metals depended on the region of residence, the traditional metalsmith practices in that region and the availability of source metals locally. Perhaps even the design & the usage demanded certain qualities from the metal characteristics.\n\nA toddler\u2019s first silver payal usually given as a gift upon the first visit to the child\n\nSome may simply be rustic and simple but still beautiful.\nAnd though some regional pieces score lower in silver content, they make up for that on design. Most boast of such complicated structures and extreme creativity that they surpass present-day ornaments in creativity and beauty.\n\nAntique Silver Toda pair\n\n\u00a0\nCULTURAL TRADITIONS\nOver readings and conversations with specialists it appears that the adornment of \u2018anklets\u2019 were created with several motives.\nThe most obvious would be that women enjoy adorning every single part of their body \u2013 so why leave out any part that is built to hold a jewel?!\n\nAntique silver payals from Bundelkhand with toerings attached\n\n\n\u00a0\nBut the deeper reasons are listed below.\n1. In the olden days women were considered \u2018property\u2019. Upon marriage, these pieces of jewelry were put on by the groom\u2019s family and signified ownership or bondage. They announce to the world that this woman is taken \u2013 just as the wedding band on a Western person\u2019s hand does.\n2. In a world where a woman\u2019s inaccessibility adds to her enigma and is considered a virtue, it is carefully cultivated through shyness and other social mechanisms. The tinkling bells of a payal are one such device. So this is how it works : Payals announce the steps of the woman and social decorum, in those days demanded that the males of the joint family either move away from her path or avert their eyes, so as to not make her uncomfortable in their presence.\nAnd the tinkling bells offered the announcement service.\n3. Being an expensive piece, the payal along with the other bridal ornaments were also considered an investment of wealth that was made into the woman. If the gifts came from the groom\u2019s side, it is a measure of how much she is valued assuming affordability, nd given from the father\u2019s side it is her inheritance from her parents.\nIndian law also views this as \u2018Stree Dhan\u2019 \u2013 the wealth of a woman, whose entitlement to property inheritance is a matter of the parent\u2019s discretion. (Although recently I have heard that the law has changed in some states.)\n4. It was also known that no one except Goddess laxmi is allowed to wear Gold \u2013 a holy metal \u2013 on their feet \u2013 which are considered dirty. hence the choice of the metal silver. Today gold payals are available in gold shops in India \u2026 so either Goddess Laxmi has begun shopping again or the traditional lifestyle of Indians is changing.\n5. In my maternity lessons at the Yoga Institute in Santacruz, Mumbai, among the many things I learnt involved payals. The extremely wise teacher, Mrs. Desai spoke of the infant\u2019s need to stay constantly connected to the mother (or father ) \u2013 the primary caregiver. Constant contact was needed either physically or visually or aurally.\u00a0 While, physical contact and visual contact may not be possible as the mother goes about her chores, aural contact is possible as the reach is much higher. So singing from the kitchen or humming in the other room, would give the infant some connection. In addition to voice contact, she suggested wearing tinkling payal bells as the infant would soon associate this sound with the mother and it would have a similar effect as the mother\u2019s voice.\u00a0 A brilliant suggestion that worked very well for me and my brood.\nEXAMPLES\nA few examples of\u00a0 rigid anklets \u2013 that are built to size and meant to be slipped on with a bit of a struggle.\n\nRigid Silver anklets\n\n\nStiff Payals \u2013 similar pieces in Gold seen at the Ch. Shivaji Museum in Mumbai\n\n\nAntique Gujarat anklets \u2013 also available in Baroda Museum\n\n\nOdisha tribal anklets\n\n\n\n\nThe brass is hidden under the\u00a0 lifetime layered over it\n\nNot sure where this is from but my 80+ year old guru, my jewelry dealer personally set this aside for my collection\u00a0\u2013 saying it is one of the finest pieces he has seen.\n\nOne from the Lambani Gypsy tribe \u2013 a rigid brass clasp like anklet worn higher up than others.\u00a0 Also note the beaded one with bell!\n\nOthers that are temporary adornments of the feet made of leaves from the wovensouls.com library of cultural images \u2013 The Nocte tribe of Arunachal Pradesh: \n\nAnd last but certainly not the least, some really heavy bronze anklets from the Khmer civilisation 13th century\n\nClick here for more pictures of this piece and others\n\n\nFinally here is a video link to a song\u00a0 about Payals from Bollywood that has won national awards from a very powerful film \u2018Virasat\u2019.\nThe beautiful rituals and the environment shown not only provide the paradigm of lives within which payals are found, but are also moments from my own life.\nIf you know of more traditions and stories surrounding the payal, or have exceptional or unique pieces,\u00a0 please share it with the world. Drop in a comment or write in. Together we can build a significant block of knowledge on this beautiful jewelry category.\n\njm.\nJune 2013\nThe post Ankle Jewelry or Payal or Jhanjhar Traditions of Asia appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.