Historic Perak from Ladakh or Zanskar. This headgear is worn by women in the northwestern Himalayan regions of India. The form appears based on a cobra rearing, ready to strike. It is made of a padded textile base, which is decorated with sewn-on turquoises, carneols, mother-of-pearl beads and other gemstones.
The perak is traditionally a symbol of the rank and economic status of the woman who wears it. The jewels themselves are representative of the deities who protect the wearer and guide her through the dangerous human world. The peraks are passed down through generations from mother to eldest daughter. The Perak reaches the women from the forehead to the nape of the neck. Each turquoise and carnelian are drilled or pierced and sewn onto a padded triangular cloth which is the main panel for the perak - the wide front rests on the brow, and the narrow end drapes down the neck
Usually, the best stone will be at the top of the perak. This is also true here: the large bordered turquoise in this position has a size 2.4 x 1.8 " | 6.0 x 4.4 cm.
The authenticity of the headdress is proven by the different sizes, colors and shapes of the turquoises. The stones were gradually sought over the years for this perak. More recently made peraks use turquoises that are currently available. These are mostly very similar stones, which essentially differ only in size. Often they are also additionally polished.
A amulet box adorns the top of the perak. Two black lambswool earflaps are attached to the main section of the perak. They are called "Saru" in Ladakhi language and should protect the ears. Four strands of braided yak hair are sewn into the bottom of each of these flaps. They are tied into a knot behind the wearer's back.
A additional rectangular part is fixed on the left earflap. This particularly gorgeous applique is made of several rows of red coral and white mother-of-pearl beads, turquise and other semi precious stones.
The ear flaps provide warmth, but the shape is also symbolic of a cobra hood to represent protection as do the stones themselves. Traditionally these peraks were worn in daily life and only taken off to sleep.
The perak is in very good condition without losses. All the stones appear to be original to the piece.
You Tube Video - The Art Institut of Chicago [4:20]: Dressing up in Ladakh
|Measurements:||31.5 x 17.7" | 80 x 45 cm|
|Weight:||3.1 lbs | 1.4 kg|
|High resolution:||Display [0.6 MB, 1793 x 3658 px.]|