Thursday, July 10, 2014

The house I call "home" now . . . (5)

Jou kombers en my matras

A tassel is a pendant ornament that is seen in varying versions in many cultures around the globe, according to the Webster's Complete Reference Dictionary and Encyclopaedia of 1949 that I saved from the waste paper pile last week.
The earliest reference to tassels, fringes or zitziot (singular: tzitzit) is made in the Bible. Around 1406 B.C. God gave the Israelites the design for their prayer shawls or talitot (singular: tallit).

. . . tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. Numbers 15:38-40 (NKJ).

The purpose of the tallit is to bear the fringes (tzitziot) commanded by God in Numbers 15. The tzitziot are therefore far more important than the tallit itself. The tzitziot at the four corners of the tallit are tied into knots using a complex procedure with number-related symbolic meaning.
To make tassels remained serious business.  Passementerie or passementarie (the art of making elaborate trimmings or edgings for clothing or furnishings). In the 16th century an apprenticeship of seven years was required to become a master in one (only one!) of the subdivisions of the guild of passementerie.
Tassels illustrated in A Handbook of Ornament (1898)
Last week I took this picture of postgraduate students in ceremonial wear at the graduation ceremony of the University of the Free State. The tassels or liripipes are clearly visible on the mortarboards.

And after this elaborate introduction, thanks for holding you tassels (being patient), I'll gladly introduce you now to some tassels in  our home.

I was the passementerie weaver of this tassel.

and of this one . . .

and of this one . . .

This black beauty was a gift from my sis Magda.
The white feathery reminds me of a cabaret costume! 

Is this magnificent, magnificent or munificent?

Perfect combination between this vintage tassel and the drape (made from a sari we bought in Singapore's Little India).

Some of our  embroidered Chinese charm tassels.