Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Bead Market

I had a rare window of time sans kiddos and I have been wanting to go to the bead market solo forever - so I went!

The market consists of about twenty or so very small stalls selling every imaginable length and color of bead. It is centuries old and the proprietors are predominantly Muslim - unusual in this Hindu country. It is covered in some places, exposed in others, very narrow and crowded.

You can buy beads ready made of course but I was on a particular mission. I wanted to get small necklaces made for the girls' birthday party "favors". The beads are tied in six string groupings and I thought that was a good width for little girls. The process is that you buy your beads (negotiate, negotiate, negotiate) and then bring them to one of the carpeted areas where bead craftsmen sit and do their magic. It was so much fun to watch! There were a half dozen men of various ages all industriously spinning golden thread around the ends of the beads to create a loop and ball clasp. Many were measuring precisely the midpoint for women who wanted gold mangal sutras or other special ornaments hung on their beads ("pote").

This young guy fascinated me. He didn't sit with the older men but very close by on a straw mat which made me wonder if he was some sort of apprentice. He was lightning fast with a ready smile. He kept running to different stalls grabbing the next group of beads for his next project. (I took a ton of shots of him - maybe just because he was cute and reminded me of Aladdin. Naaaaah.) I wondered if he would do this for the next sixty years like some of the men on the carpet. I think I also was amused that he had a traditional kameez over jeans and sandals.

This man was shaving the strings for the beads to go on. Many of the men used their toes to anchor their work.

Here is my project - "before".
And here is Rumpelstiltskin.

And the finished products! I was completely pleased - and because I know inquiring minds want to know - they cost about a dollar each. I have no idea how these people make enough eat and sleep indoors.

Wow. I'll raid these on the next visit.


Nicole said...

Your life looks incredibly interesting! How fun!

Found you through SITS :o)

Eudae-mamia said...

Wow - simply gorgeous. I find it fascinating that it is the men that make a living doing this.

And you are so right, dead on ringer for Aladdin!

By the way - tag! Not sure what time it is on your side of the world, but come visit if you get a chance.


Kat said...

Your pictures are gorgeous - and those beads - how neat. I am going to have to live my life around the world vicariously through you. And pretend I went to a bead market, too :-)

Adrian said...

I want to go too! It looks really colorful and interesting. I really enjoy these little peeks into Nepalese life.

Tracy P. said...

Whoa! See, this is what I mean!

Heather said...

Bead guy was very, very cute. All of those beads hanging like that were so pretty!! The colors are beautiful and I can't believe the necklaces were only a dollar a piece.

EmBee said...

Really fascinating and yes, 'Bead Boy'... Very cute! Help me, I sound like a cougar!

Michelle said...

Wow what beautiful photographs! I'm new to your site and am really enjoying it!! I look forward to coming back for more. :)