Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kashmiri Walnut chair with Chinese Design

Guest post by Manmohan Munshi Ji.
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Back rest of a Kashmir made walnut chair with the design of  Chinese Dragon.The chair was in our ancestral house since 1930s and is believed to be about 90 to 100 years old.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bach'e Nagma

 Guest post by Man Mohan Munshi Ji.
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Bache Nagma Dance being performed on the Mehendirat  night during the
marriage in a Kashmiri Pandit family. This tradition is still very much alive .
Besides the artists  the family members and and guests are take part
in the dances as seen in the last picture.

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Related post:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Verinag, Rainbow Trout

Guest post by Man Mohan Munshi Ji. I remember reading that Rainbow Trout from Isleman in Denmark was first introduced in Kashmir in the 1950s.

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Verinag Spring
   At one time only the local Kashmiri Fish (Sater Gad) used to be in
 Verinag Spring but since a number of years Rainbow trout has also
found its way

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Antique Workmanship

Some more stuff from Man Mohan Munshi Ji's personal collection.

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Copper vessel with lid on a wooden Badrapeeth used for worship of Saligram (Banalingas) and Parthishor on Sawan Purnamashi by Kashmiri Pandits in the past. At present the  use  of these artifacts is no longer in practice.

A closer view of the above  wooden Badrapeeth showing fine artistic carvings.
Wooden   tumbler and  cups made of wood  at Anantnag (South
Kashmir). This art is no longer in vogue  The artisans  since long
have taken to walnut  carvings . All these items have been used by my
grand parents 1868-1954 approx. and at present  are in my personal
collection


Not an antique but an elephant shaped tea cosy . [Apparently quite appreciated in the west]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Konsar Nag and Mollen pot hole

Guest post by Man Mohan Munshi Ji. I had to ask him what 'Mollen pot hole' means. 
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 Snow Covered Konsar Nag Lake (Kramasaras) in Spring

Mollen pot hole in a snow covered valley in Pir Panjal Range.

Both photographs have been taken in May 1954 and are from my post graduate thesis paper submitted in 1955.  Mollen Pot hole is a well/pond like shape carved in a thick snow bed  by the  under flowing water.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Beauty of the Valley, 1920

A Beauty of the Valley by Gertrude Hadenfeldt
A Beauty of the Valley by Gertrude Hadenfeldt

Found this beauty in 'The Charm of Kashmir' (1920) by V.C. Scott O'connor (Vincent Clarence Scott, 1869-1945). Miss Gertrude. Hadenfeldt's water color of Kashmir are still quite popular. She had spent around five years in the valley.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kashmiri Pandit Family Portrait, 1930s

Contributed by Man Mohan Munshi Ji.
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A photograph of of a Kashmiri Pandit Family taken in front of their farm house at a stones throw from the famous Neolithic site of Burzahom, Kashmir in 1930s.

Update: More info. from Man Mohan Munshi ji about the family in the photograph.

Mrs.Lakhshmi Fotedar, [At present in Noida]. Mrs. Jaya Razdan [at present in Orange county California. , Late Mrs. Uma Sumbli. Chairs: Late Mrs Gauri Munshi, Late Sham Lal Koul, Late Raghu Nath Koul, Late Jagan Nath Koul, Late Devki Koul front row sitting Mrs Rupa Koul[at present in Delhi] Manmohan Munshi[at present in Jammu] Kishni [present whereabouts unknown].

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Kalamdan, Farsi Kalam, Silver Ink Pot, Stationery Knife and Scissors

More awesome stuff from Man Mohan Munshi Ji's treasure tove. Do check out the details on the Kalamdan.
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Kalamdan(pen stand ), Farsi Kalam (indigenous pen made of wood including the nib.),Silver Ink Pot ,stationery knife and scissors inherited and used by Pt. Mhanand Joo Dhar(1828-1908) who took over the land settlement department of Maharaja Pratab Singh, the Dogra ruler Jammu and Kashmir, after Sir Walter Lawrence departed for Europe.. Pt Mahanand Joo Dhar was great grand father of Maj-Gen.(Retd.) B.N.Dhar and late D.P.Dhar diplomat and cabinet minister in Indira Gandhi's cabinet.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Samawar

Photograph generously shared by Anu Lalli ji. It's from her family collection.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Koshur British Rhymes

I saw a glimpse of it in Aldous Huxley's description of year 1925-26 Kashmir in his book Jesting Pilate (1948). He heard 'Dum-dum, BONG; diddy-dum, BONG'. He wasn't the first British person to hear it. Much much earlier, around 1835, another Brit, G.T. Vigne heard in it an old comic song. He thought he was hearing 'Kitty Clover'. I managed to re-create (unfaithfully) the old song from his notes and some software. But I failed to see a patter until I read about it in introduction to 'Kashmiri Lyrics' (first published in 1945) by J.L. Kaul:
There is indeed a "nursery rhyme thrill", a certain Hickery-Dickery-Dock patter of rhythm, which anyone can hear (as Aldous Huxley heard it) any time, of day, in the streets of Kashmir with which a group of coolies enliven the heavy loads they carry collectively. Several Englishman have told me that they can catch and appreciate the lilt of a Kashmiri song (say), a boatman's chant more easily than they can do elsewhere in India. here is what Mary Hallowes caught of the tune of a chant sung by boatmen punting up their cargo boats "Khocu"  in the Jhelum. [published at the time in The Illustrated Weekly of India]

"Swift the current,dark the night,
(Ya-illa,la-illa)
Stars above our guide and light
(Kraliar,baliar!...)
All together on the rope,
(Ya Pir-Dust Gir)
In our sinews lies our hope
Khaliko,Malik-ko!..."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Silver Kettle and Zaharmor (Serpentine)

Guest post by Man Mohan Munshi ji. 
The following exquisite items have been with his family collection since 1880s.

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 A silver kettle of old Kashmiri workmanship with a
serpentine(Zaharmor) cup from Central Asia
 Both article are more than a century old.

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Update from Man Mohan ji:
Some time back a friend from Face book had suggested that the ZAHARMOR  cup from my collection shown along with the silver kettle  was of made of ONYX. The mini tumbler  seen here is of Onyx- which is a calcareous rock of sedimentary origin  often depicting bedding as seen in the said tumbler while as Zaharmohar is a recrystallized rock of  of altered pyroxenes.
Onyx tumbler to the left and Zaharmor to the right

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ablution





Found the above image 'Brahmans of Kashmir' in 'The Charm of Kashmir' (1920) by V.C. Scott O'connor (Vincent Clarence Scott, 1869-1945)

My pandit landlord doing his morning ablution.

Giant Kangri and Giant Choncha

Guest post by Man Mohan Munshi ji
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A giant Kangri (Firepot) about 20 inches in height and about 18
inches in diameter A household article believed to be about 100 years
old. Kangri filled with live charcoal is still used for keeping warm
during winters in Kashmir but of smaller size
A giant Choncha - Wooden spoon -used for stirring eatables being cooked in huge terracota vessels

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mahjoor's first

Ujde gaaroon main rahaa karte hain rahzan chip kar
 dil-e-muztar main hee dilbar ka kayaam achha hai
.(Robbers choose to hide themselves in desolate caves. but a lover chooses to lodge in a restless heart.)

These urdu lines marked Mahjoor's formal debut in the domain of poetry.

Translation by T.N. Raina.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

phak'e aulov

They fall in my hand like limp gunny bags air dropped on flood ravaged lands.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sale Purchase Deal documents from 1872 AD, 1876 AD and 1880 AD

This is another incredible guest post by Man mohan Munshi ji. Can't thank him enough for sharing these! And he has promised to send in more surprises!
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Document from 1872 AD
Document from 1876 AD
Document from 1880 AD

[...]three original legal agreements pertaining to Sale purchase deals executed by my great grand father Munshi Daya Ram in  1872 AD, 1876 AD and 1880 AD  which I located in a heap of  junk in 2003. The said agreements have been drafted in Persian and the revenue stamp /paper is bilingual i.e Persian and Sanskrit . A few words / signatures are in 1872 document are in Sharda script. The dates of the said agreements english in the text are given in Bikrami and Hijri Samwants which have bee calculated are as follows:

                          Bikrami             Hijri                  Ad/CE
                          1929               1279                   1872
                          1933                --                        1876
                          1937               1398                   1880  
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