Retelling the 15th century tale of a Pandit woman who became sister of a Muslim Prince. Re-interpreting the undying symbols of mixed masala culture. This is SearchKashmir video Dastangoi Episode 1.
The thing to note in the photograph is a glimpse of ancient pre-islamic Kashmir. Notice the kid in the front with the partial tonsure. The one with Ronaldo cut.
Tarikh-i-Kabir of Muhammad-ud-Din Fauq (1892) mentions that muslim kids just like non-muslim kids used to grow a tuft of hair on the crown of their head. This hair used to be later shaved off on a particular day, at some shrines (like at Baba Rishi near Gulmarg), and the event was much celebrated (zarakasai). The tuft was known as Shika (Sanskrit), topp ("cap" in Kashmiri) or bichur ('tuft' as in Bil-bichur like of Bulbul).
The act of having tonsure was and is common in eastern religions.
In Islam, there are hadith against keeping partial tonsure. As the Kashmiri Muslim society moved closer to following a more literal and puritan version of Islam, the practise disappeared
Left: Goddess Sharada enthroned surrounded by fairies. From a Private collection. Probably 18th century. Kashmir. Notice the way angels are painted around the orb. Came aross the image in "Cosmology and Cosmic Manifestation: Shaiva Thought And Art Of Kashmir by Bansi Lal Malla (2015). While writing about the image, the author missed an important art connection.
Right: 16th century, Ṣafavid Iran. Miraj painted by Sultan Muhammad for a manuscript of Nizami Ganjavi's Quinary ("Panj Ganj" or "Khamsa". Art styling inspired by Buddhist China. Khamsa was a work popular in Persian and Mughal courts. Notice the way fairies are drawn and the headgear on them.
In the right image, Khamsa influence on the court culture of Kashmir can be seen as late as 18th century. This mixing of culture, arts and "sacred" was not a phenomena unique to Kashmir, other major cultural centers also experienced it and continue to experience it. Only in case of Kashmir, it is least studied in detail.
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