It’s a long story, but a year ago when we were in Vientiane we visited a gallery opening featuring painters, including our own Khamla Phanyasit, and we saw a young woman wearing a naga pin on her blouse. The saying goes that “Weaving cloth is weaving nagas” and many of our textiles feature naga motifs as seen in the photo below of a section of one our Birds and Nagas Textiles woven in Muang Vaen.
We had never seen any jewelry that we liked featuring nagas until this evening when we saw the young woman wearing the pin and we asked her where she got it and she told us, and luckily she had purchased it right here in Vientiane. Bai and I went the next day and saw that there were actually other styles of naga pins too, just as beautiful. We loved them, bought all they had, which was limited at the time, but got contact information and over the last year, through email and by phone made arrangements to pick up a selection of pins when we were in Laos this summer. It sounds like it should have been straightforward, but it wasn’t and we came to the realization that the Thai can be very Lao-like (these jewelry pins are made in Thailand).
We love these pins and although they are relatively inexpensive, the quality is excellent and there is no where else you’re going to find jewelry pins featuring Lao and Thai mythological figures like these. We are so excited to find a source of jewelry pins like these that complement our textiles so perfectly. It will probably take us a couple of more weeks to get them on our Yahoo! Store website, and we'll write a post when they’re finally available for sale so you'll need to keep checking back, or better yet subscribe to our blog!
We’re including photos of several styles of the naga pins and one style of the hong pin. Patricia Cheesman writes about the hong that “In Buddhism, hong is the local name for the mythical hamsa bird from the Himmaphan forest, representing the flight of Buddhist doctrine to all realms; symbolizing nirvana and the end of suffering. The hong can be seen on the ends of temple roofs either with a bird head or a naga head gracefully pointing to the sky." Below you can see a photo we took this summer at Wat Chan in Vientiane of hongs at the end of the temple roof and one of our Hong jewelry pins.
Nagasare ubiquitous in Laos and one of our favorite designs in the textiles we feature at Laos Essential Artistry. Nagas are dragon or serpent-like beings with the word Naga coming from the Buddhist language Pali and in Lao it is called Nak. Nagas are often seen as benevolent beings that protect and save humans from illnesses, hunger and bad spirits, and Buddhists revere the Naga as he saved Buddha from the floods. Below is a photo of a muchalinda naga (a seven-headed naga) protecting Buddha from the back with two nagas framing the pool taken at the same wat as the hong photo above.
Beloware examples of our naga jewelry pins that will be for sale on our website (All our pins will be $12 each which we think is a great deal). We've include a photo of each pin with a dime to show the size of the pins.
We will also be offering kinnari, kinarra, siho/lassasee, nyak/yaksha and elephant jewelry pins