Traditional Newa Jewelry

There are many Traditional Newa Jewelry that is used in Newa (Newari) community. Traditional newa jewelry is so fascinating that each one of them has a reason to be worn.

Communities across the world have groomed up to have their own distinctive culture, customs, food and costumes. But at the first sight, the one thing that differentiates one community from the other is their appearance, facial or costumes. And an important part of any costume is its jewelry worn in different parts of the body from head to toe.

Newa community also has a rich tradition of using some beautiful and amazing jewelry. With the passing of times usage of some or most may have been decreased but nevertheless, the importance of them as part of the culture can never be overlooked.

It was not possible to include each and every one of them in this article due to lack of proper information. However, this article tries to collect information on various jewelry.

Lunswan

This is probably the most attractive Newar jewelry shaped like a circular disk worn at the center of the head. The pattern consists of flowers with three to five birds or peacocks which are attached to the disk with the help of spring. The spring gives the impression of the birds dancing every time the wearer moves her head. Sometimes it has a quite big image of Lord Ganesh on the center made of coral with superb designs.

Traditional Newa Jewelry Lunswan
Traditional Newa Jewelry Lunswan

It is usually used only by the bride at the wedding or during festivals and by the groom’s mother at the wedding when she goes to the bride’s home to bring the bride to her new home. Some exceptions to its use are by the lady of honor in grand pujas. It is either made of gold or is gold-plated A normal Lunswan is about 15 to 20 cm in diameter, sometimes even up to 30 and about 100g in weight.

Lunswan literally means the golden flower.

Kilip

“Kilip” as the name suggests is worn at the back of the head. The word probably came from the English word ‘clip’. It is a delicately designed oval-shaped gold hair ornament with a cluster of flower motifs and usually a peacock or moon shape on the top. It is used as a hair clip on the back of the head. The back of the Kilip is made of silver with a lock on it.

Traditional Newa Jewelry Kilip
Hair Clip

Nyapu Shikha

Nyapu means five and Shikha means the golden chain. it has five rows of chains which of course are interlinked but far-flung too. So it is called Nyapu Shikha.

It proclaims that it is the symbol of Pancha tatwa (five elements). Sometimes, people also use chyapusikha, which has eight chains.

Nyapu Shikha, Traditional Newari Jewelry
Nyapu Shikha, Traditional Newari Jewelry

Generally, it goes well with Haku Patasi, one traditional newa attire. Besides, it is used on any occasion especially at festivals, and ceremonies.

Daura Suruwal Traditional Nepalese Dresses

Sathwacha

Sathwacha is worn in the hair. It looks quite unique. The hanging ankle of it is designed as a fish. With that, the hanging part looks a bit like the bells. It is made out of Silver and most of the time-worn in the Ihi and barah ceremonies by the girls.

Sathwacha
Sathwacha

Tuki

Newar women wear sets of Tuki, rows of heavy double studs earring. Most of the Tuki’s are plain but some are made of floral designs as well. Tuki is double stud jewelry inserted in the helix of the ear. These are worn by elder women after their ritual procession called Janku. Most of tuki are plain in design but some are in floral design.

Tuki
Tuki, Photo: Keshab Thoker

Makansi

Manaski is a traditional Newa Jewelry. This is an earring usually made of silver or gold and especially worn with Haku Patasi. The earrings are u-shaped.

Makansi, Newari ornament
Makansi

Tayo

Tayo is one of the largest Newar ethnic Jewelry pieces of Nepal. Tayo has high symbolic meanings and religious values. It is worn as it is believed that the pointed pendant part of the necklace symbolizes the Kathmandu Valley, while the facets of the pendant for the directions of the Valley, and a center jewel under the hood of the snake-heads is for the Swayambhu Stupa of the Kathmandu valley.

The Swayambhu Stupa stands for the Pancha Buddhas. The places for the five Buddhas ( Pancha Buddha) in the Stupa are in a Mandala position Vairochan in the center, Akhswovya in the east, Amitabhava in the west, Amogha-sidhi in the north and Rana-Sambhava in the South. The Mandala symbolizes the Universe of the World related with Mahayana Buddhism. Such is the importance of Tayo in the cultural heritage of Nepal.

Traditional Newa Jewelry, Tayo
Traditional Newa Jewelry, Tayo

This necklace is mostly worn by the brides. However one can notice it on the neck of some famous goddesses too like the Kumari, Lokeshwori, Yogini, and Dipankars. Except for the kumari, others wear it on special occasions only.

It’s basically made of gold but brass is also used sometimes.

Teekma (Tikma)

It is a necklace with a number of four-sided thin metal plates that are sewn onto a broad red cloth (cotton or velvet) collar with patterns of flowers or peacocks or leaf patterns. These plates may be made of gold or gold-plated copper. A remarkable element of this necklace is a row of teardrop-shaped glass beads which is sewn on the edges of the cloth collar. Teekma is mostly used during wedding ceremonies or in traditional dances.

Teekma
Teekma (tikma)

It seems quite heavy but is really comfortable and attractive. The green-colored stones hanging all around the necklace make it more worthy of wearing.

Jantar (Amulet)

This amulet box or ‘jantar‘ is of a type made and used by Newars in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. However, Jantar Box is a prayer (amulet box) used by the Hindu & Buddhist.

The history of this gold ornament dates back to the 19th century. It has the print of fish, butterfly, kalash which all represent good luck and it is worn to ward off evils and to bring good fortune.

Bhimpuma
Bhimpuma

It is a simple necklace made of coral beads. It looks simple yet is very beautiful and attractive worn by both males and females.

Ghau

This is originally a Tibetan traditional jewelry and has been adopted in newar culture through Buddhist newar women from the hilly region, who wear them.

ghau, A traditional Newa Jewelry
Ghau, A traditional Newa Jewelry

Ghau is an amulet box pendant decorated with different stones. The box is also attached to the coral beads. However, the stones which are used to decorate the Ghau are also presumed as the symbol of Pancha Buddha of Swyambhu Stupa, exactly like in Tayo.

Tutibaggi

literally, Tuti baggi means a carriage for the feet. It is a pair of anklets that is put on the feet of a bride when the marriage ceremony is over. But the putting practice is different in Hindu and Buddhist Newars.

In Hindus, It is put on the feet of the bride by her father-in-law at the time when the wedding is over and the bride is ready to leave her home. This is the first and last time that a father-in-law touches the bride’s feet.

Tuti Bagi
Tuti Bagi

But in Buddhist Newars the ankle bracelet is handed over to the bride by the bridegroom’s father and the bride has to put them on by herself.

This ritual is taken as a symbol of honor. It is flat made of silver and is usually plain.

Baha Shikha Maa

It is a chain of interlocked circular ring cultural necklace worn by Newari people.

Baha Shikha Maa
Baha Shikha Maa

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