Relaxing on the cast iron bench, after a hearty breakfast, in the garden of a little house we sometimes go to (for a couple of days) in Shantiniketan, you can hardly fault us for seeing things, so ...
Relaxing on the cast iron bench, after a hearty breakfast, in the garden of a little house we sometimes go to (for a couple of days) in Shantiniketan, you can hardly fault us for seeing things, so balmy is the climate, so salubrious the surrounds.
Facing the sage green of the square block of the master bedroom that juts out from the rest of the house, there are a lot of plants screening the bank of windows looking onto the garden : some pink and white mussaenda; a couple of hibiscus; the old guava tree from the gnarled trunk of which crooked branches stick out like woody jack-in-the-boxes; and a whole lot of Patuju shrubs whose showy pendulous bracts, in a merger of bright red and yellow, appear to be lobster-claws tied in pairs down a curvy green stick in perfect symmetry, and hung as tree decorations.
Further to the right and beside the entrance to the verandah, the passion-flower vine is in bloom too, its plasticky ink-blue blossoms looking as if they'd been stuck on to the thick foliage.
From where we lounged, it seemed one of the rakhiphool sat pretty atop a Patuju inflorescence –– an optical illusion that appeared perfectly natural considering the abundance of flora there –– despite the considerable distance between the two. This fantastical image of a passion-flower sprouting a zig-zag head of Patuju bracts is what seized us, and that's what you see eternalised in rich yellow guinea gold.
Entirely wrought by hand in the tol-parh style of karigari, the earrings show the symmetrical bracts as just what they are: specialized leaves in which the midrib's separately soldered and polished and the veins are engraved into the diamond-frosted blade. Track up this golden inflorescence to reach the solitary passion-flower that's fully frosted and has in the centre the stamens emerge from where the hand-cut petals plunge in, creating a void the verisimilitude of which to the real flower is remarkable.
This is not an easy ornament to craft. The tol-parh technique requires elements to be cut out of larger blocks of gold, then shaped and curved as required. It's a painstaking and slow process where each part is individually made and then fitted, the form needing to be perfect before soldering. Also, if filed incorrectly, the whole piece has to be redone. In close-up, you'll see the finish clearly, and the detailing of the leaves and flowers.
If you do go to Shantiniketan, ever, please visit the place.
You will see extraordinary things such as the Patuju Passion-Flower there.