“From his neck he unclasped the collar of gold,
valorous king, to his vassal gave it
with bright-gold helmet, breastplate, and ring,
to the youthful thane: bade him use them in joy.”
“Ere from his bosom departed his soul”, Beowulf handed the torque and the insignia to the young Wigelaf. Barbarian dignity is transmitted with power, through jewels.
The Kond were Dravidian tribes originating from the east coast of India, who were driven by Aryan invaders into the wild and remote hills of the Eastern Ghats, in Orissa. In that inaccessible territory, with its impassable rivers, dense jungles, fierce animals and abruptly changeable climate, the Kond were able to preserve their Kui culture and language.
Likewise, in primitive societies, the jewel is the daily practice of all these things: fire of desire and seduction, symbol of status and wealth. Also, however: “In Africa, jewels serve mainly as a form of magic defence… worn preferably… on the vulnerable parts of the body, its orifices… fulfilling the dual purpose of arousing admiration and discouraging evil influences.

April 18th, 1996