In traditional Assamese jewelry, one name shines brighter than the finest gem – Waheeda Rahman. This national award-winning artisan has not only made these exquisite treasures accessible but also safeguarded their existence. Her journey is a testament to the revival of a cultural legacy.
Rescuing Assamese Treasures from Extinction
Traditional Assamese jewelry is more than just adornments; it embodies Assamese culture, brimming with unique features and cultural significance. Unfortunately, over time, these cherished pieces teetered on the brink of extinction. Some had already faded into obscurity as gold and lac-crafted items, once the pride of Assam, grew heavier and fell short of resale value. In response, people turned to imported jewelry, leaving behind the rich legacy of Assamese craftsmanship.
A Journey into the Heart of Assamese Artistry
Waheeda’s journey began with a deep-seated fascination for intricate designs. She reminisces, “Since childhood, I had a fascination for designs. I used to draw patterns on my Mathematics copy and later got caught by my teacher.” Although mathematics was not her preferred subject, her teacher became her favorite, and she began to admire the designs adorning her teacher’s saris.
Research and Restoration: Bringing Assamese Jewelry Back to Life
Waheeda delved deep into the annals of Assamese tradition, researching traditional ornaments, their crafting techniques, and the reasons behind their disappearance. Her efforts culminated in the reintroduction of these intricate masterpieces to the market.
A Dazzling Legacy of Over 500 Designs
Waheeda’s contribution transcends preservation; she has breathed new life into Assamese jewelry by crafting over 500 unique designs. Among her remarkable creations are the Nangol, Jakoi, and Khaloi designs, inspired by motifs from various tribes. Her jewelry also pays homage to the region’s identity, featuring designs inspired by tea leaves, the misty allure of Cherapunjee, and the enchanting Kopou Ful, among many others.
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