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Gold & Jewelled Comb, Valencia

Gold & Jewelled Comb, Valencia



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Vintage Culver Glassware Mardi Gras Pattern 22K Gold Jester Jewelled Drinking Glasses Vintage Culver Barware Mid Century Bar

Vintage Culver Glassware. Mardi Gras pattern. Including Culver Glassware history & pattern recognition information.

Mardi Gras pattern Culver Glassware: 22k New Orleans themed drinking glasses. These gorgeous & rare 1960s gold jester rhinestone jewelled glasses, are of the flat gold pattern, with actual rhinestones, that is considered the rarest of this pattern.

Mardi Gras Pattern History: The Culver Glass Company's first run of Mardi Gras pattern glassware was circa 1959 - 1962. The design consisted of flat gold leaf & glass jewels. It appears that there were very few of these made, yet they were sold in huge serving sets with 24 to 48 glasses. Variations of this pattern include the figures backed in Blue, Gold or Black.

1962 - ? Saw the second edition, made of thick, textured / raised, shiny 22K gold and glass jewels. (these are my favourite)

1969 - 1983?: This last edition was the most ornate, made with enamel colorful balls instead of the glass jewels. It appears the dates of production of these various versions or the Mardi Gras pattern, overlapped, yet the last version remained in production, into the early 80s in small sets of 4 production.

There are a few variation in this pattern where you may see Blue, Gold, Black or even Green backing on the Gold figures. I have yet to discern how this correlates with dating, but it is a problem for me when collecting pieces to sell as sets and should be something to look out for if you are collecting and wish your pieces to match.

The history of Culver Glassware: Oddly shrouded in mystery, Culver was founded in Brooklyn, NY in the late 30s by Irving Rothenberg. In the 1980s Culver ended its own glass production and started printing from glass blanks, mostly made in China, but also provided by American companies such as Libbey. Upon ending their glass making production the company moved to New Jersey and remained there until they closed in the early 90s.

The secret process of heat firing 22k Gold to glass, died along with the last known member of the family that had been involved with the business, on that fateful date now known as 9/11.

For the most part, Culver did not begin producing gold embellished glass until the late 50's and much of their pieces made prior to this time, are unsigned, unlabeled and often difficult to identify.

In the early 60s Culver Glassware perfected the (still) secret process of high heat firing 22k Gold onto glassware, allowing for thick, textured, gold & rhinestone displays, that better handled the test of time.

Wealth was abundant in the US in the late 1950s through the 1960s, and the time of the "two martini" lunch was well at hand. The over romanticized glitz of Hollywood and glamour of Vegas, created a new era of fine dining, both out and about and at home.

Culver, as well as a few other glass pattern designers such as Georges Briard (who by the way, is not a person but a company name) created regal ornate "Baroque" barware patterns, emulating "Old World" Gothic and Medieval Architecture and business soared.

With the release of the Valencia pattern, popularity exploded & soon Culver was considered THE wedding gift of the "Up and coming", becoming available in the finest department stores. The process of high heat firing 22k Gold onto the glass for permanence, was kept close to the vest by the family & employees.

Into the 1970s, when sunken living rooms and shag carpet were king, demand for opulent cocktail service led to demand for equally opulent barware sets. Martinis in the home and at work were a common thing. even expected, and a less documented phenomena in Mid Century and early 70s design of "Gothic Revival" and "Old World" lavish styling was equally embraced with the sleek, Mid Century Modern / Futurist Atomic Age styles, more commonly associated with the time.

Identifying Culver Glassware and Patterns: The facts about identifying Culver glass by mark, in order to indicate date of manufacture are highly & widely inaccurate on the internet. Pieces were signed in scrolling script from the 30s to late 70s, but not all of them and often only one key piece if sold in a huge set (which most of the most collected sets today, were originally sold in large sets).

In the 80s block lettering became common, but I have seen 1980s pieces with the old scrolling signature as well. I have also sen the scrolling signature with INC at the end. A more accurate indicator is the addition of INC to the mark (be it block or script) lettering, which is found only on 80s to 90s pieces. Paper labels came into play in the mid to late 80s too, so its pretty much a crap shoot where signature is concerned, if you ask me.

Signed or Unsigned Culver Glassware: Although some collectors prefer their glassware signed. It does not appear that the Culver signature on a piece, in any way raises its value or collectability. In fact, most Mard Gras pattern Culver Glassware pieces and other of the rarest and most collectible are unsigned, since they were most often sold in huge collections including Martini Pitcher and Ice Bucket, with only these two key pieces signed. (damned hard to find these, grab it if you see one)

Dating Culver Glassware: As a side note, I consider the date that a pattern came into play, more important than when the item was actually created. Patterns such as Cranberry Scroll or Emerald Scroll were initially designed in the 1960s and therefor I consider them as Mid Century glass from the 1960s, regardless of if they were printed in the 1960s or 1980s.

The only time an obvious difference may come into play between the same pattern made in the 60s or the 80s is if a pattern originally printed onto glass made by Culver Glass rolled into the late 80s when Culver started using pre made blanks. Many of the Libbey Glass made blanks are not of the same quality and it is immediately noticeable at first sight. The Libbey Glass pieces are all stamped at the bottom of the glass with the highly recognizable Libbey L. Regardless of this fact, the Libbey pieces are very rare, few and far between, making them quite coveted by the collecting purist.


Array of Stones at a Jewelry Expo - Photo by stefano tinti - Shutterstock.com

A Gold Shop on Florence's Ponte Vecchio - Photo by Brendan Howard - Shutterstock.com

Gold Manufacture and Gem-Setting

Artisan Creations in Gold - Photo by claudio zaccherini - Shutterstock.com

Commemorative Stamp from the Year 2000 - Anniversary of Italian Jewelry House - Photo by Neftali - Shutterstock.com

OroArezzo Trade Fair and Expo

Assortment of Pearls and Other Designs

Italian goldsmithery is Made in Italy at its finest. An alchemy of past and present, it is just one representation of the Italian love for beauty, and artisan know-how that dates back ages. It is no wonder at all that Italy is a world leader in jewelry and gold-working.

This niche in Italian luxe flourishes in a few “gold districts” throughout the Peninsula: foremost among them is that in Valenza, one of the names that stands out internationally. Not far from northern Italy's major cities (i.e. Genoa, Milan and Turin), the Valenza district comprises eight contiguous municipalities where an ample range of jewelry and gold is produced and sold. Valenza itself - also a city of interest for the 2015 Milan Expo – will inaugurate its Museo del Gioiello or Jewelry Museum in 2015.

Valenza, a small city in the Region of Piedmont, actually boasts the highest number of artisan gold and jewelry businesses in the country, as well as a solid high-quality artisan tradition and significant advancement in the way of technical, stylistic and material innovation. The elevated level of design locally, fervent production, a fair and expo known on a global scale, and training academies and institutes of study rooted in the surrounding territory and tradition make Valenza a privileged destination for tourists, the curious and apasionados seeking out this different and rather particular thread of Made in Italy.

Of course goldsmithery is an important profession all over the Bel Paese each Region has its own traits and specializations, where often the businesses are family-run.

Another district similar to that of Valenza is Vicenza with its silver and goldworks (as with just about all of Italy’s jewelers, this includes custom-made creations, as well), and fine jewels, gold-plating, china, home decor, etchings and sculptures. Thirty-percent of the Vicenza area’s exports arrive in Russia, Turkey and the UAE. Then, Arezzo, known for its longstanding importance in goldworks, and for its schools and research centers, historically supplied its pieces to Florence's biggest jewelers.
The Tuscan city hosts the annual trade fair and exhibition of "Oro Arezzo," with thousands of operators from Italy and abroad participating. Not to be counted out is Naples, with a 2,000-year-old district running from the ancient Neapolis to Torre del Greco.

Other sector fair events include Vicenza Oro and Orogemma in Arezzo. Meanwhile, among Italy’s most famous jewelry and gold labels are Damiani, Roberto Coin and Miluna (also sponsor of Miss Italia 1997).


Jewelry Box

Is there anything more charming than a velvet-lined box filled with glittering baubles? From ones that play a tune to the iconic blue of Tiffany’s leather version, a jewelry box is one of the few decorative objects that nearly all women have in common.

The jewelry box most likely came to be as soon as there were jewels to put inside. But let’s pick up the story in the Middle Ages. Before safes and safe deposit boxes (or even locks for doors), home security was of utmost concern, and at the time, iron was the most theft-proof material for protecting valuables. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most practical option if you needed to move. Because portability was essential to the medieval lifestyle, most boxes for safekeeping were made of wood, covered with leather, and bound with iron for a little extra security.

During this period, a groom would often gift his betrothed a jewelry box filled with jewels (or perhaps empty with promises of gems to come). To emphasize the point of the box, the leather might be embossed with appropriate inscriptions and scenes of courtship. A favorite choice was a quotation from the stories of Chrétien de Troyes, the twelfth-century poet: “Lady, you carry the key / and have the casket in which my happiness / is locked.”

A prospective bridegroom could buy boxes with empty crests that could, post-purchase, be hand-painted with his own.

The custom of presenting a lady with a jewelry box on her engagement continued into the Renaissance. In Florence, the trend was to use a rectangular musk-scented box, decorated with gold-leafed hunting scenes. A wounded stag symbolized carnal passion, so it was a gift with a little extra vroom-vroom.

Illustration by Alice Pattulo (courtesy of Chronicle Books)

Renaissance women didn’t necessarily wait for a man to provide the jewelry (or the box!). Many women had boxes that hung on the wall in their bedroom next to a small mirror. A foot high, it would contain a smaller box for jewels as well as other items necessary to a lady’s toilette: makeup, powders, sponges, and pins.

During the eighteenth century, bigger was better. As a wedding gift, Louis XVI presented Marie-Antoinette with a jewelry box the size of a small table.

Made of tulipwood, it was balanced on delicately curving cabriole legs, embellished with floral porcelain plaques, and hand-painted with flowers. But even a table-size jewelry box wasn’t enough to hold the jewels of the future queen of France. By tradition, the French royal family presented the new bride with all the jewels of past queens—like a pair of diamond bracelets that cost as much as a Paris mansion. To accommodate the treasures, Marie-Antoinette ordered a massive “diamond cabinet.” Eight and a half feet high and 6 feet wide, with mother-of-pearl, sea green marble, and gilt detailing, the cabinet was as sparkly outside as the jewels within.

Marie-Antoinette had her cabinet, and Mexican women had their secretas. These low, square boxes on round bun feet were decorated with turtle shell, bone, and mirrors inlaid in geometric patterns. Although they were beautiful enough to be displayed, they were often stowed under beds or hidden in secret cubbyholes for protection from theft.

And it wasn’t only the ladies who had elaborate storage for their baubles young men were also dazzled by a little sparkle. After a stint in Europe to add a bit of continental polish to his education, the Scottish Duke of Atholl commissioned a small box in the shape of the Roman temple Septimius. Constructed to split open halfway to reveal tiny trays, the box housed the duke’s collection of coins and medals. His favorite post-dinner activity was showing off the collection the box was part of the show. With his elaborate jewelry box, the duke was taking a page from the lineage of the most dazzling of kings, the French Louis. Louis XV had a jewelry box that was large enough to be called a cabinet with blue velvet– lined drawers to store a numismatic collection that celebrated the great events of his reign. His grandson, Louis XVI, had an astonishing medallion decorated mahogany version that rivaled the one owned by his wife, Marie-Antoinette, for size and decoration.

Each medallion was made of wax, feathers, and wings arranged to look like birds, butterflies, and plants. In 1796, an invention by Swiss watchmaker Antoine Favre added another dimension to jewelry boxes. Favre had already developed a tuned-steel comb that made previously bulky music boxes portable and pocket size. It was incorporated into jewelry boxes in the nineteenth century. To further entice shoppers with money to spend, mechanical figurines—like a pirouetting ballerina or a singing bird— were added to move when the box’s lid was opened.

The sales of jewelry boxes, both musical and silent, declined during World War I, when ostentation was frowned upon. Then in the 1920s, Coco Chanel made costume jewelry fashionable, and a golden age of affordable adornment began. A jewelry wardrobe was in reach of every woman, and remains so today.

If diamonds (real or faux) are a girl’s best friend, then doesn’t she need a place to keep them?

(Reprinted from Elements of a Home by Amy Azzarito with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020)

Top: A velvet-lined jewelry box that author Amy Azzarito discusses in her new book Elements of a Home: Curious Histories Behind Everyday Household Objects, from Pillows to Forks (Chronicle Books, $19.95). Image via: picspree.com.

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How is a kasavu sari made and how long does the process take?

The production time totally depends on the count. A plain sari with just a border and stripe on the end piece will take three to five days. But if it features motifs, it’ll take much more than that. When there are extremely elaborate motifs (such as those on a wedding sari), it can take up to a month because it is all done by hand wefting. The pricing also varies accordingly. If you purchase from a cluster, you can get a basic cotton sari for 3,000 rupees (which, in my opinion, is very underpriced), but with the zari it can go up to one and half lakh rupees—depending on how much gold and labour has gone into it.

A weaver works at the loom

The yarn must have been hand-spun traditionally, but these days they use mill-made yarn (hand-spun is both expensive and difficult to mass produce). They put this yarn through a long pre-weaving process, and especially at Chendamangalam, it is this process that got them the GI tag. Once they get the yarn, it is soaked in water for seven or eight days, and stamped on every day (the artisans do this with their feet) while it’s soaking, to get the dirt and starch out and make sure it is completely soft.

The yarn is taken out after a week, and part of it is dyed (if required). Then, they make the warp and stretch the yarn. But according to tradition, this stretching has to be done between four and seven in the morning—the temperature and atmosphere during those hours was considered apt for this process. Technically, the yarn has to be stretched in an open area, but these days it’s difficult to find that kind of space.

Before the warp is put on the loom, the artisans re-starch it in the morning and allow it to dry. Then they starch it once more and brush with a comb made out of coconut fibre. It is dried until 7.00am and then put on the loom. This stretched yarn is clean and absorbent, and the starch is added so it doesn’t break on the loom. Beyond this, there is really no post weaving process. They just take it off the loom and put it on the shelf.


Gold & Jewelled Comb, Valencia - History


The term ''barbarian " loosely defines a broad range of peoples and art styles that existed
alongside the ''civilized'' cultures of the Mediterranean, China, and the Near East. Barbaras is Greek for "foreign", but literally meant "stammering", after the itnfamilar sound of tongues other than Greek. As barbarian cultures were fundamentally non-literate, we know them primarily through the rich material culture and art they produced.

The influence and exchange I of ideas and art styles between "barbarian" and "civilized" cultures was a continual process. The Greeks and the Etruscans were in contact with three primary groups of "barbarians" - the Celts, Scythians, and Thracians. Modern knowledge of these cultures is largely derived from archaeological investigations, although one literary source - Herodotus, the Greek geographer and historian writing in the mid-fifth century bc -vividly describes Scythian culture. The vast Roman Empire dealt with different groups of "barbarians" that superseded the above - the later Celtic populations, the Sarmatians, and groups of Germanic-speaking peoples who had migrated from the north to southern Russia and Eastern Europe. In the late fourth century ad, Hunnic tribes from Inner Asia, the "ultimate barbarians", arrived in southern Russia. This forced the Germanic and Sarmatian populations west and initiated the historical process known as the Migration Period, which transformed the Roman Empire into medieval Europe.

The "Keltoi" to the Greeks or "Galli" to the Romans were Indo-European speaking peoples whose culture spread from the upper Danube and eastern France south to north-ern Italy, the Iberian peninsula, and North Africa west to the Low Countries and the British Isles and east to the Balkans and Asia Minor. The first manifestation of Celtic art appears on the objects found in more than a thousand graves excavated at Halstatt, a salt-mining settlement in the Alps, near Salzburg in Austria. In this Bronze Age phase, which began in the late second millennium and continued until the mid-sixth century bc, the "art" consisted largely of functional but highly sophisticated metalwork designed for personal adornment and to embellish weapons, and horse and chariot fittings. It was probably produced under princely patronage and is primarily geometric and non-representational in nature. The second, Iron Age phase, lasted from about 500bc to the Roman conquests in the late second and early first century bc and is called La Tene, after a settlement and votive deposit on the shores of Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland. Early La Tene styles derive from classical decorative and vegetal motifs, such as palmettos and scrolls. but these incorporate animal figures and human heads into their curvilinear structure. Depending on the region, these styles evolved in different ways with the representational elements often becoming more cryptic and abstract, and the continuous geometric designs more fluid, often underpinned by complex, compass-based patterns. Some stylistic variants were completely linear, engraved on flat surfaces, while others were more plastic and naturalistic. The artists still worked primarily in metal, favouring gold, copper alloys and iron, sometimes adding inlays of coral, amber or enamel. Personal jewellery for both men and women, arms, armour and horse trappings were elaborately decorated, as were everyday articles such as mirrors and vessel fittings. Torcs or neckrings were status symbols in many Celtic societies, which together with long hair, beards, and trousers, came to signify "barbarian" in Greek and Roman representations. Celtic artists also worked in wood and stone, producing large representational sculptures of both humans and animals many of these appear to have been used in cult temples or as grave markers. After the Roman conquest, abstract variants of the Celtic style survived primarily in the remote British Isles, to be invested with new vigour by artisans in the second half of the first millennium ad.

CLASSICAL AND BARBARIAN IMPULSES

The territories beyond the Greek cities around the Black Sea were occupied by Thracians in the west and Scythians to the north and east. The latter traded wheat, fur. slaves, gold, and amber from the north. Scythian burial mounds in southern Russia were storehouses of everyday Greek pottery buried side by side with breathtaking gold jewellery, vessels, and fittings reflecting both classical and barbarian traditions. Some items, such as necklaces, earrings, and ritual vessels were purely Greek in both style and function other ornaments, such as large pectorals and combs, were Scythian forms decorated in Greek style yet other objects were purely Scythian in both decoration and function. Some objects in the second category, which must have been made by Greek craftsmen for Scythian clients, bear naturalistic images of the Scythians themselves, engaged in battle, milking mares, and shoeing horses. These contrast with abstract and stylized representations of animals used to decorate horse harnesses and with representations of animal combat, which derive ultimately from ancient Near Eastern sources. A similar admixture of Greek, Persian, and barbarian traditions also characterizes the objects from Thracian tombs on the western shores of the Black Sea, concentrated in Bulgaria, In contrast to the Scythian finds, many of these were fashioned in silver, probably reflecting local mineral resources. The sheer quantity of precious metals and their exuberant decoration may have reflected "barbarian" taste, but in general the decoration of all of these luxury goods is of the highest standard.

Gold phalera with a feline attacking a stag, Ol'gino Mound,
fifth century bc.
Museum of Archaeology at the Ukraine National Academy of Science, Kiev

Gold comb showing a battle, Solokha kurgan, Ukraine,
early fourth century bc.
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Felt saddle cover with applique depicting an elk, Kurgan 2, Pazyryk, Altai, Siberia, fifth century bc. The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. The arcs enclosing dots used on the haunches are a typical steppe motif derived from Iranian art

The steppe, the vast grasslands that stretch across Eurasia, was in ancient times, as it is now, home to nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoral peoples of both Caucasian and Mongolian stock. They were in contact, both peacefully and aggressively, with the great settled civilizations of the ancient world - the Assyrians and Persians, the Greeks and Romans, and the Indians and Chinese - and their art was a rich blend of their own cultural symbols with those classical traditions. Much of the art they produced was small, portable metalwork and wood can-ing, suited to their lifestyle and stylistically conservative for many centuries. The primary tribes with which the Western civilizations were acquainted were the Scythians, their successors the Sarmatians, and, finally, in the early medieval period, the Huns. The Iranian-speaking Scythians are first mentioned in Assyrian sources around the middle of the seventh century bc. Within two centuries, their territories stretched from the Danube to the Don and north to the boundary between the forest and steppe, but their cultural sway extended south-east into the Caucasus and west to the Dobruja with a far eastern branch in Siberia. Herodotus described the everyday life of the Scythians, who drank mare's milk and interred their dead beneath massive earthen mounds, accompanied by human and animal sacrifices. His observations have been borne out by excavations of these mounds or kurgans, the underground chambers of which were filled not only with sacrifices but splendid golden grave goods. In the east, a spectacular group of Scythian burials in wooden chambers was discovered in the Altai mountains in Siberia. The permafrost preserved human bodies, including one entirely tattooed man, and horses still wearing their elaborate wooden bridles and headgear. Colourful felt textiles, such as three-dimensional stuffed swans designed to hang from the top of a tent, illustrate the richness of the nomadic lifestyle, while a knotted woollen rug, the oldest in existence, testifies to long-distance trading contacts between the Scythians and Achaemenid Persians. The animal style developed by the Scythians was powerful and stylized, depicting animals and birds with their most important attributes (horns, paws, and beaks) exaggerated. It was applied to personal status symbols such as belt buckles, horse trappings, and weaponry such as akinakes (short swords), battle axes, and bow cases. The Iranian Sarmatians continued a stylized version of this animal ornament, often executed in repousse gold sheet accented with turquoise inlays. Ornaments in this style, dating from the second century bc to the second century ad, have been found across a large region stretching from Afghanistan to the Caucasus and across southern Russia. Graffiti, dating from the Roman period, depict Sarmatians as mounted horsemen carrying long spears and with both themselves and their horses encased in suits of armour. Like the Scythians, their leaders were buried beneath massive mounds. Recent excavations in the Ukraine at the kurgan complex called "Datschi", near Azov have unearthed large quantities of gold ornaments and vessels studded with semi-precious stones in a polychromatic style that influenced later Migration Period art.
The Huns, who appeared without warning at the Sea of Azov in ad 369, were traditionally regarded as the most brutal and physically ugly of all barbarians. They probably spoke a proto-Turkish tongue and, although their origins remain obscure, there can be no question that one of their primary artifacts - large footed bronze cauldrons with loop handles - can be traced across the steppe to the northern borders of China. In the late fourth and early fifth centuries, they formed alliances with Sarmatian and Germanic tribes and often fought with the Romans against other barbarians. They succeeded in extracting large subsidies in gold from the Roman government, both in payment for their services and to keep them at bay. Once their power base was established in Pannonia, the Hunnic federation under Attila (died ad 452) began plundering and raiding further to the west, remaining undefeated until a disastrous battle at the Catalunian Fields in France, where the allied Huns. Ostrogoths, and Burgundians suffered heavy losses. We know almost more about them from historical sources than from archaeology, as they cremated their dead and founded no settlements. Their most splendid ornaments were fashioned of gold sheet studded with cabochon garnets. Many of these took non-classical forms, such as diadems, temple pendants, and whip handles.

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Contents

Goddess Pathini and God Dademunne were first wearing these jewellery designs. Later the members of royal families were presented with similar jewellery items leading to the origination of Kandyan jewellery sets. There is a drawing of the last Queen of Kandy in 1815 wearing Kandyan jewellery. She was King Rajasinghe's wife.

This tradition is still prevalent today to a certain degree through the practice of noble Kandyan families passing down their jewellery from one generation to another, from mother to daughter at weddings as part of dowry. Kandyan weddings are extravagant ceremonies with the jewellery taking a centre stage to highlight the Kandyan lineage of that family. This practice ensured that sets of Kandyan jewellery remained in selected circles of Kandyan families without being released to the outside world. Occasionally a family would decide to create a new set with modern designs and metals at which point they would inform other families of the release of the old set and introduce the newer trends to each other.

Bridal sets are the most important pieces of Kandyan jewellery. They are handmade and consist of 26 pieces of jewellery that will adorn the bride from head to waist. The set normally consists of moon and sun, head chain, karapati throatlet, earrings, 3 pendants with chains, pethi necklace, agasti necklace, sarri (thick) bangles, gedi bangles and hawadiya (hip chain). Most of these jewellery items were made using five types of metals such as gold, silver, copper, lead, brass. All these items are gold-plated. The number "5" was considered an auspicious number and considered to make it 5 times stronger. These items are embedded with red and white Indian stones designed specially to go with the spectacular designs.

Bridal sets are rare with only a selected number of families possessing the entire set. These are collector's items.

A set of jewellery consists of a necklace, head-dress and three throatlets.

  • The three throatlets are:
    • (First) White swan displaying purity for the unmarried maidens,
    • (Middle) Red Makara pendant for the married ladies.
    • (Third) Red swan for the homecoming bride.
    • 3 sisters pendants known as padakam, lucky pendants, elaborate design for evening wear.
    • Makara pendants with chains and earrings, three being an auspicious number to bring good luck.
    • Agasti set, a rare stone in gold for daytime wear with saree or dresses.

    These stones are only found in Sri Lanka worn by young and old both displaying the Agasti stone in gold goblets. A set consists of an Agasti necklace, earrings and two bangles.

    Kandyans are people who come from the Kandyan hill capital and descendants of the Kandyan kingdom. Their customs and traditional habits are still preserved to a great extent with families giving parents and their elders an important role to play. In many ways their lives are unaffected by the rest of the world as they continue to follow Avurudu and prehera (king's parade) in August where you can see these jewellery items being displayed.

    Kandy city stands apart from the rest of the country in many aspects. Even today the royal palace, now a Buddhist center, performs its rituals according to the royal decrees issued by the last king, Rajasinghe II of Kandy, and does not follow regulations issued by the state.

    Due to its historical importance, Kandyan jewellery is highly priced and is at the heart of Ceylonese culture representing the glorious times of the Raja (Kings).

    In 1815 when the British entered the citadel, Kandyan jewelry caught the attention of the British officials resulting in some of the sets being shipped off to the Royal family in England as gifts, later becoming popular amongst women in high society in England.

    Even today Kandyan jewellery sets are auctioned off at the best auction houses in the United Kingdom and Europe with a throatlet and necklaces being valued at £5000 to £8000 and the entire sets being sold for prices ranging from £50,000 to £200,000 depending on the design and antiquity of the sets. In Sri Lanka these sets are available on a seasonal basis for a dollar rate for outsiders.

    Some of the noble Kandyan families still living today include Ellwela, Nugawela, Nugapitiya, Ratwatta, Halangoda, Weragama, Menikdiwela, Delpitiya, Palipane,Kobbekaduwe Molamure Muttettuwegama Aluvihare, Hulangamuwa, Tenne, Galagoda, Lenawala, Mampitiya, Rambukwelle, Mediwake, Meegastenne, Amunugama, Mollagoda, Molligoda, Panebokke, Dunuwilla and Madugalle.

    There is much information about the Kandyan Kingdom and culture in the book Kandyan Kingdom, then and now by P. B. Alahakoon.


    A Trove of Medieval Art Turns Up in Texas

    A hoard of medieval artworks and illuminated manuscripts missing since they disappeared from an ancient castle town in Germany in the final weeks of World War II, appears to have surfaced in this small farm town in north-central Texas, 15 miles from the Oklahoma border.

    Evidence from interviews with art experts, lawyers and rural neighbors points to a former Army officer, Joe T. Meador, a reclusive art lover and orchid fancier who was stationed in Germany at the end of the war and who died here in 1980, as the man who carried off one of the biggest art thefts of the century.

    The artworks that disappeared in the theft were kept for centuries in the cathedral of Quedlinburg, a medieval town in Saxony-Anhalt State, now in East Germany. In 1945, shortly before the German surrender, the treasures were hidden in a mine shaft southwest of town. They disappeared a few days after American troops occupied the area, on April 18, 1945.

    One missing artwork, a sumptuously illustrated and illuminated ninth-century version of the Four Gospels in a jewel-encrusted gold and silver binding, was recovered in April by a private West German foundation. Representatives of the organization, the Cultural Foundation of the States, paid what they called a finder's fee of $3 million to a lawyer for an American seller. Part of the deal - concluded in Switzerland, where such transactions are protected by law - was that the American's name would never be revealed.

    Dietrich Kotzsche, a leading specialist in medieval decorative art at the State Museum of West Berlin, said the Quedlinburg treasures are worth ''perhaps more than a van Gogh painting.''

    In addition to the Four Gospels manuscript, the treasures include a small silver reliquary, inlaid with enamels and precious stones, with side panels of carved ivory a liturgical ivory comb a second manuscript, dated 1513 several rock crystal flasks, and gold and silver crucifixes and other gifts from the kings and emperors who ruled various German states in the 9th and 10th centuries.

    The loss of the artworks was investigated by the United States Army, but the effort was dropped in 1949, when Quedlinburg became part of East Germany.

    ''It is one of the world's greatest art thefts,'' said Florentina Mutherich, former deputy director of the Institute for Art History in Munich and co-author of a study of imperial medieval art.

    Richard M. Camber, a London medieval art expert, said yesterday that the missing artworks were ''rare beyond belief'' and that it was ''impossible to estimate their value since no such objects have ever been offered on the market.''

    A participant in the purchase of the Four Gospels said in a telephone interview that a number of the missing Quedlinburg treasures are in the vault of the First National Bank here in Whitewright, a town (population 1,760) whose most conspicuous features in the years since a shopping mall went up nearby are empty storefronts and caved-in roofs.

    The treasures, said the participant, who insisted on anonymity, have been used by the bank as collateral for a loan.

    John R. Farley, president of the First National Bank of Whitewright, said he had no comment about the matter. Details of how the Quedlinburg treasures were stolen and brought to the United States may have died with Joe Meador. Connections Reports of Efforts To Sell Manuscripts In April 1945, when the treasures disappeared, First Lieut. Joe T. Meador was assigned to the 87th Armored Field Artillery, the unit that occupied Quedlinburg and guarded the mine shaft after the treasures had been discovered there.

    A longtime neighbor of Mr. Meador, who worked in a hardware and farm equipment store that Mr. Meador and his brother Jack ran and who spoke on the condition that he not be identified, said that on occasion Mr. Meador had shown employees of the store elaborate and richly bound gold and silver manuscripts and other unusual items.

    Three years after Mr. Meador's death in 1980, his brother-in-law, Dr. Don H. Cook, a dentist who was raised in Whitewright but who practices in Mesquite, Tex., sought professional evaluation of two medieval manuscripts, one bearing the date of the more recent Quedlinburg manuscript, said John Carroll Collins, a Dallas estate appraiser who was retained by Dr. Cook.

    Decherd H. Turner, director of the Humanities Research Center, a research library at the University of Texas in Austin, said Jack Meador had at one point shown him slides of two medieval manuscripts similar to those from Quedlinburg and tried to sell them to him.

    When asked by Mr. Turner how he had acquired the manuscripts, Jack Meador replied that he had inherited them from his brother, who had 'ɿound them in the gutter'' in Germany during the war, Mr. Turner said.

    Later, John S. Torigian, a Dallas lawyer who represents Jack Meador, tried to sell the Quedlinburg manuscripts to Mr. Turner at the research center and to a Paris rare book dealer, Paul-Louis Couailhac, said Mr. Turner and Mr. Couailhac.

    Mr. Torigian is believed by manuscript experts to have been the agent who sold the Quedlinburg Gospels to Heribert Tenschert, a Bavarian art dealer who in turn sold them to the West German foundation in April in Switzerland.

    Mr. and Mrs. Cook declined to discuss the matter, and Jack Meador referred all questions to Mr. Torigian. Mr. Torigian did not return repeated telephone calls.

    Ely Maurer, assistant legal adviser for cultural property at the State Department, said those who knowingly transport stolen art across international or state borders may be in violation of the National Stolen Property Act. Interests Texas to Europe, A Student of Art Joe Tom Meador was born in 1916, the oldest of four children of Claude and Mabel Meador of Arkadelphia, Ark. When he was a year old, his family moved here and his father established a hardware and farm equipment store. In 1938, Mr. Meador received a bachelor of arts degree from North Texas State University at Denton, Tex., having majored in art.

    Mr. Meador then went to Biarritz, France, and studied art. Those who knew him well said his interest in art was inspired by his mother, who studied at the Art Institute in Chicago and in Kansas City, and who taught art at Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia before her marriage. In Whitewright, she taught classes in ceramics, oil and china painting.

    Two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Joe Meador enlisted in the Army. As a member of the 87th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, he took part in the Normandy invasion, and fought his way across France and Germany. He was frequently a forward observer directing fire from his unit.

    On April 19, 1945, three weeks before the war's end, his unit occupied Quedlinburg. An unofficial history of the 87th Armored Field Artillery Battalion states that Lieutenant Meador was assigned to Headquarters Battery, one of three units that organized teams to search the town for weapons, radio transmitters and other contraband.

    It was 'ɺn intoxicated soldier,'' the unit history says, who accidentally discovered 'ɺ cave on the outskirts of the city'' filled with ''valuables, art treasures, precious gems and records of all sorts.'' Guarding this ''Nazi loot,'' the history states, became an ''important'' task for the 87th.

    It is not known how the treasures may have came into the hands of Lieutenant Meador or found their way to Texas.

    After Joe Meador's discharge in 1946, he taught art at a school in New London, Tex. When his father became ill, he moved back into his family's home at 407 South Bond Street here, and joined his brother Jack in running Meador Inc., the hardware and farm equipment business founded by their father.

    Meador Inc. and the town of Whitewright flourished, until a few years ago when a shopping mall opened nearby. Recollections A Reclusive Life Amid the Orchids Friends and neighbors recall that the war years had changed Joe Meador from an outgoing, friendly young man to a secretive one. ''He was a mystery,'' said the Rev. Dale Gore, the Meador family minister who was the pastor of the First Baptist Church. ''He was a loner, reclusive. He put part of his life behind him.''

    Avery Chisholm, who lived next door to the Meadors for many years, said, ''He was different, real strange.''

    Marshall Hasty, a former Chevrolet dealer who served as one of Joe Meador's pallbearers, said: ''Joe wanted to be an artist, but somehow he couldn't. He just didn't have anything in common with most people here, so he had to turn to other things.''

    One of the things he turned to was growing orchids. Mr. Meador built three greenhouses on a vacant lot behind the family residence. Within a few years, according to a local newspaper interview in 1960, he was cultivating more than 6,200 orchids representing 129 varieties.

    Merritt W. Huntington, who used to judge orchid shows with Mr. Meador, said: ''He was intellectual and witty. Joe used to say, 'Whitewright is the biggest city in Texas, but it hasn't been developed yet.' ''

    The few individuals who were invited to his home were impressed by ''the antiques, beautiful rugs and paintings,'' Mr. Gore recalled.

    On at least some occasions, Mr. Meador displayed treasures he said he had collected in Europe at the war's end, said a former neighbor who spoke on condition of anonymity. Mr. Meador displayed ancient-looking manuscripts written in gold to employees at the family store, said a former employee, who wished to remain anonymous.

    ''It was all Greek to me,'' said the former employee. ''I never did know what happened to that stuff after he died.'' The Trail Two Old Books And a Box Joe Meador died of cancer on Feb. 1, 1980, at the Whitewright Nursing Home.

    His sister, Jane Meador Cook, who served as executor of his estate, signed a statement on Sept 19, 1980, that the estate consisted of local real estate valued at $24,331 and stocks worth $81,225.57. In accordance with the will of Joe Meador, who never married, this property was distributed to Mrs. Cook and their brother Jack. A third brother, James Pat, had died in 1971. Mr. Meador's will also specified that his personal ''silver, china and crystal'' was to be divided among his nieces and a nephew. There was no mention of the Quedlinburg artworks.

    In January 1983, Mr. Collins, the Dallas estate appraiser, was asked by a Dallas lawyer to come to his office to evaluate ''two old books.'' Although in his usual appraisals he almost never encounters rare books or manuscripts, Mr. Collins had for two years studied medieval manuscripts as a graduate student at North Texas State University and was knowledgeable about the subject.

    When he arrived at the lawyer's office, Mr. Collins said after consulting his diary, ''three lawyers and two women'' gave him a large cardboard box to examine.

    ''I could immediately see that the box contained very fine and rare manuscripts in jeweled bindings,'' he said. ''I was furious at the way they were being treated, with the heavier one dumped on top of the other. In one of the relief sculptures on the cover of one manuscript, I could see that a figure's nose had been flattened. I scolded them for treating such objects as if they were last year's telephone directories.

    ''When I examined the manuscripts, according to the notes I made at the time, I thought the older was perhaps 9th or 10th century. There was elaborate filigree on the front cover and jewels. Inside were the Four Gospels. Everything was in gold - gold letters and gold portraits of the four Gospel writers. For me, handling such things was one of the fantasies of a lifetime.''

    Mr. Collins also made note of a date he discovered on the back of the more recent of the two manuscripts, which, he said, was 1513. That is the date on the still-missing Quedlinburg manuscript.

    ''They behaved very secretively,'' Mr. Collins said, 'ɺnd wouldn't allow me to take photographs or to measure the manuscripts.

    ''I asked where the manuscripts came from, and they would only say that they had been inherited. They asked how much they were worth. I told them they were probably stolen from Germany or somewhere in Europe at the end of the war, and that although they might be worth $2 million, they were worth almost nothing to them because they couldn't sell them legitimately. They just looked at me.''

    Under United States law, no one may gain legal title to stolen property.

    Mr. Collins said he was ''haunted'' by the manuscripts but heard nothing about them for three years. In March 1986, he recalled, he was summoned to a second meeting and introduced to five or six people who were said to be members of the family that inherited the manuscripts.

    ''I read them the law about stolen property,'' Mr. Collins said, 'ɺnd this time they agreed to let me have the manuscripts photographed.'' An appointment with a photographer was set up, but suddenly canceled, Mr. Collins said, and he heard no more.

    He wrote 'ɼook estate'' in his notes, and, as directed, sent his bill to Don H. Cook of Mesquite, who had given him his card. He received a check from Dr. Cook in payment.

    Meanwhile, there was a steady flow of rumors in the small world of bibliophiles that some very unusual medieval manuscripts were on the market.

    ''I wouldn't be surprised if every major dealer didn't have a nibble at them,'' said Christopher de Hamel, the manuscript specialist at Sotheby's in London. He added that no reputable dealers would have had anything to do with them once they realized the manuscripts had been stolen.

    In late 1985 or early 1986, Mr. Turner, who was then the director of the Humanities Research Center in Austin, was visited by Jack Meador and his son Jeff, who is an accountant in Austin, Mr. Turner said. They showed him slides of medieval manuscripts, which they offered to sell, he recalled.

    ''I thought I might faint,'' Mr. Turner said. ''I immediately told them these are probably the most valuable books ever to have entered the State of Texas. When I asked where they got them, the older man said his brother had found them in the gutter at the end of the war in Germany and had liberated them. They said he had died, and Mr. Meador was now the owner.''

    Mr. Turner said the Meadors arranged to have him fly to Dallas, where they said he could inspect the manuscripts and make an offer. But the day before the arranged flight, Mr. Turner said, Jeff Meador called to cancel the trip without explanation.

    When Mr. Turner described what he had seen to Mr. de Hamel, both men became convinced he had been shown slides of the Quedlinburg manuscripts. Mr. Turner said he then called Jeff Meador at his home, and was told by Mr. Meador that he and his father had sold the manuscripts and that he should speak to Mr. Torigian.

    Accordingly, Mr. Turner said, he met with Mr. Torigian and offered to raise $1 million privately so the manuscripts could be restored to their rightful place.

    ''Torigian made light of my offer,'' Mr. Turner said. Availability The Fate Of the Works Rumors about the availability of the manuscripts quickened in 1988. At the center of the talk was Hans P. Kraus, then the dean of rare book and manuscript dealers in New York, who had arranged the sale of a Romanesque manuscript called ''The Gospels of Henry the Lion'' to a West German consortium for $11.7 million at Sotheby's in London in 1983.

    He began to spread the word that ''something extraordinary'' would soon be available, said a museum curator who insisted on anonymity.

    'ɿrom the way he described it,'' the curator said, ''I now know he was talking about the Quedlinburg Gospels.'' Mr. Kraus died in November 1988. Thomas Kren, curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Mailibu, Calif., said that earlier this year he had been approached by a dealer to buy a medieval manuscript but that, as soon as he realized it was from the Quedlinburg hoard, he broke off the discussion.

    Mr. Couailhac, the Paris book dealer, who spoke through his lawyer, said he had been approached by Mr. Torigian and had agreed to try to sell the older of the two manuscripts for $9 million.

    Mr. Couailhac said he had been angered when he learned that Mr. Torigian had suddenly sold the manuscript to the West German foundation for $3 million through another dealer. He said he was considering suing Mr. Torigian.

    West German cultural officials are hopeful of recovering the remaining Quedlinburg artworks.

    ''When all the treasures are finally returned,'' said Klaus C. Maurice, secretary general of the Cultural Foundation of the States in West Germany, which negotiated the return of the Quedlinburg Gospels in April, ''we must view them not only as a sign of our ancient past, but also as a reminder of what happens when a state goes out of control, as we did in the Nazi period, and suffers invasion.''


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    Ancient Greeks were sometimes buried on wooden or bronze beds. [1]

    A number of early Anglo-Saxon bed burials, almost all dating to the 7th century, have been found in England, predominantly in the southern counties of Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Wiltshire, but single examples have also been found in Derbyshire and North Yorkshire. The beds used in these burials were made of wood, and although none have been fully preserved, their presence can be inferred from the presence of iron fixtures and fittings, such as nails, cleats, grommets, brackets, headboard mounts and railings, that outline the rectangular shape of the bed in the grave. [2] [3] [4] However, in some cases it is not clear whether the iron fixtures found in a grave come from a bed or a coffin.

    The majority of the Anglo-Saxon bed burials are for young women, and many of the burials include items of jewellery and other grave goods that indicate that the dead person must have been wealthy and of high status during life. The high quality of the gold jewellery found in the bed burial at Loftus in Yorkshire suggests that the occupant of the grave may have been a princess. [5] On the other hand, some of the young women buried on their beds have pectoral crosses or other Christian emblems buried with them (Ixworth, [6] Roundway Down, Swallowcliffe Down, Trumpington), which has suggested the possibility that they may have been abbesses, who in the early Anglo-Saxon period were recruited from noble families. [7]

    In addition to laying the deceased on a bed, some of the bed burials exhibit other features that mark them out as special, and relate them to ship burials, such as the bed being placed in a chamber (Coddenham, Swallowcliffe Down), or a barrow being raised above the grave (Lapwing Hill, Swallowcliffe Down). [8] In at least two sites (Loftus and Trumpington), a grubenhaus (sunken floored building) has been excavated close to the bed burial, and it is possible that the deceased was laid out in the grubenhaus before burial so that mourners could pay their respects to her. [3] [9]

    The complex and elaborate funeral practices that must have been associated with a bed burial have been well described by archaeologist Howard Williams:

    The artefacts, body and grave would have interacted to create a complex sequences of practices and performances in the funeral. We can imagine the digging of the grave, perhaps the lining of the grave with timber shorings, and perhaps a temporary shelter over the grave in the hours or days until the body is ready for burial. We then have the lowering of a bed into the grave, followed by the clothed body together with a set of discrete deposits. Each would have required persons approaching the grave and passing them down to those in the grave itself with the body. Finally, after the funeral had approached completion, the grave would have been back-filled and the mound raised. [2]

    Interring the deceased on a bed suggests that sleep was seen as a metaphor for death. [2] Furthermore, the Old English word leger (modern English lair), literally meaning a "place where one lies", was used to refer to both beds and graves in Old English literature, which emphasizes the symbolic equivalence of the bed and the grave. [10]

    List of Anglo-Saxon bed burials Edit

    About a dozen Anglo-Saxon bed burials, as well as several possible bed burials, have been excavated from the 19th century onwards, as listed in the table below.

    In several Viking ship burials from Norway and Sweden, including the Oseberg ship burial (dated to 834) and Gokstad ship burial (dated to the late 9th century), the deceased had been laid out on beds. However, true bed burials, in which the bed is buried directly in the ground are not known. [25] [26]


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