Kokkethathi - a cultural insignia of rare distinction, created with ingenuity and crafted with finesse.
Wedding rituals are the cultural signatures of a community affirming its uniqueness. Nowhere is this truer than in India. Its immense cultural diversity makes for a vast range of marriage norms and customs that are equaled by very few cultures or nations.
The Kodavas of Coorg are a very distinct ethnic group that stand out for the uniqueness of their cultural rituals and symbolism. Perhaps nothing rivals the distinctiveness of the Kodava way of life than their wedding customs.
Central to a Kodava wedding is the jewelery worn by the bride. Intricate and symbolic, it is indicative of the deep relationship she has both with her birth family and the larger community that she will soon inherit through marriage.
Kodava jewelery draws its inspiration from nature and is characterized by exquisite craftsmanship. The technique of repoussé is a commonly used one by the artisans of the community. It is a metalworking procedure by which a malleable metal is ornamented and shaped by hammering it in from the reverse side to create a design in low relief. It is a matter of interest that most Kodava jewelery is handcrafted and hollow. They are filled with wax thereafter to give them solidity and stability.
Kodava bridal jewelery is a box of many glittering elements and the Kokkethathi is one among them. It is an elaborate crescent shaped pendant surmounted with the head of a serpent with the figure of Goddess Lakshmi and two birds upon it. A row of descending cabochon rubies and a string of hanging pearls on the edge, complement the artfulness of its design.
The Kokkethathi is worn by the bride on her wedding day and is an integral part of this great rite of passage for a young woman of the community as she embarks on a new journey in her life.