Looking at the sky rocketing price of gold one might think that for once this precious yellow metal might at last follow the principles of Economics ! but then postulates come with their own exceptions and for ages this metal has defied all ! So best is to leave its current behavior to those who possess means to posses it and for those lesser mortal restrict to studying its most desirable form - Ornaments.

Kandikai, Sarappali, Savadi, Pulippal Tali, tolmalai, vagu malai, tolvalai, Kataka valai the list continues - thanks to Sri Ganapathi Stapathi’s book Indian Sculpture and Iconography, try to figure out what they are!

Thanks to Shashwath for managing to capture this beautiful Ardhanari closeup for our study.


Try and Identify these now.


Let me make it easier for you


The Kandikai is easy to identify - being the shortest - a rope like necklace with a large bead at the centre and small beads on its either sides.

The Sarappali is also easy - most elaborate, thick with pearls on the top and leaf motif on the bottom.

The Pulippal Tali is simple - a tiger tooth worn on a slender chain. It is interesting to note that though this ornament can be worn by both male and female , in this Ardhanari form the artist has chosen to show the differentiation in this alone - the male side has the Pulippal Tali while it extends as a simpler Savadi on the female side. The Savadi being a slightly longer chain than the Kandikai interlaced with repeating floral motifs along its length.

There is a beautiful flourish on the shoulder - the Vagumalai which is a wavy ornament slung over the shoulder in front, while a similar flourish along the sides is the Tollmalai

The Yagnopavitham is multi stranded and the scared knot - the Brahma Mudichu is stylistically shown.

The lower torso and elbows also sport ornaments.


The stylistic Keyyura / Tollvalai on the elbow is brilliantly set off by another ornament - the Kataka valai. The slender curves of the waist are highlighted by the ornamental belt - Udara Bandam.

The Yagnopavitha would in early Pallava period split into 3 strands - the shorter Uras Sutram, the central Yagnopavitham and a longer Sthana sutram. The Sthana Sutram is missing in this Chola creation.

Let me make it easier for you. Check the 3 in this rare Kongu Bronze Vishnu.


Maybe this will give fresh ideas to our Jewellers for a truly Antique Jewellery range !!

Leave a comment »

Category: Sculpture

Tags:  , , , ,

Related Posts:

Read this in தமிழ்தமிழ்

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2012 at 14:49 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Comments so far


An inspiration for modern jewellers — that’s a great concept, VJ

September 13th, 2012 at 16:33

A Very Nice Dissection of Jewels Adorned .

VJ waiting for the same on the Hoysala Jewels i think they are the best when it comes to ornamentation !

September 15th, 2012 at 17:51
venkata rao k g

illuminating coparing pictures 14&16 sthana suthram(around breast ?) should be the shortest and not urassutram or am i wrong

September 15th, 2012 at 21:06

Dear Mr Rao,

Just rechecked the reference, the last image in the post - markings are correct.


September 17th, 2012 at 11:12

I was unable to identify anything apart from Kandikai and Pulippal Tali . Need to read again-just dont get much time these days.

October 14th, 2012 at 15:06

Hi, I am a Kerala mural painting artist and I cant thank u enough for making a blog like this. Though I have learned mural for sometime, i never got a chance to learn the basic ornamentations and details. All i could do was read it from various places and get an understanding of the same. Thank you so much for posting these many details….

August 12th, 2013 at 13:42

Dear Malini,

Welcome and thanks for the nice words. Keep Visiting.


August 21st, 2013 at 15:02

Leave a Reply

Name (required)(*)
Mail (will not be published)(*)