The painted world of the Warlis. Tribal Art of Middle India. Divine Support: Ghurras Wooden Churning-rod holders from Nepal.
-The Painted World of The Warlis. Art and Ritual of the Warli Tribes of Maharashtra. Shodhara Dalmia. Lalit Kala Akademi, 1988, New Delhi.
-Tribal art of Middle India. Verrier Elwin. Oxford University Press, 1951.
-Nepalese shamanic drums and dhyangro handles.
The double sided membrane drum Dhyangro is the peculiar, indispensable, and one of the most important, pharaphernalia of the western nepal shamans.
The nepalese shaman is the bridge, the link and mediator between the real and invisible world.
- Nepalese Shamanic ritual dagger phurbu.
-Divine Support: Ghurras Wooden Churning-rod Holders From Nepal by Paul De Smedt Paperback (2000).
Paul de Smedt, is a Belgian industrial engineer , in this book , the first devoted to this matter, the author explores the traditional use of wooden churning-rod holders generally known in the artistic folk tradition of Nepal as ghurras, putting forward a system of classification in order to build up a symbolic interpretation of these items.
The Ghurras are anthropomorphic carved objects used to guide the churning-rod during the churning of milk in order to produce butter.
-Pic from the 2007 exhibition of the "GALERIE LE TOIT DU MONDE" (http://www.letoitdumonde.net/) at the Mairie du 6e -Salon du Vieux Colombier.
In the August of 1991 and for the first time in his life Mr De Smetd came across this fascinating wooden object on a stall at the 'Grote zavel' antique market in Brussels. He was deeply impressed by this sculpture, which was distinctly anthropomorphic in character. The author remember how the magnificent patina of these item gleamed in the sunlight, moreover, the sculpture emanated a smell of rancid butter and milk. The stallholder informed him that it was known as a NETTI or NETTLE and had been collected in Nepal. He could tell him nothing specific about the real function or exact meaning of the object expect that it was perhaps an 'amulet' or something linked with the milk or butter.
So Mr De Smetd began to find the real meaning of this object. He tried to built up a collection of these items in order to give to his investigation statistical basis. This was the beginning of a passionate and fascinating cultural adventure. During a visit at the Rietberg museum in Zurich the Athor, assisted by Prof. Bar, found a publication, issued by the parisian gallery 'Le toit du monde' (http://www.letoitdumonde.net/) which provided some of the first information on the matter.
This mysterious object was surely a holder for a churning rod , commonly used for churning milk in Nepal.
Some passages in the text were however not clear for Mr De Smetd : 'Les Magars, ethnie Tibeto-Birmane etablie dans les collines de l'ouest et du centre qui vont des hautes valls jusqu'aux Plaines du Terai, fabriquent les elements de baratte terminee par des ailettes dans le recipient de battage.' (Patrick Pevenage). This citation might generate the impression that the manufacture of these objects was only linked to the Magar tribe.
During his successive trips to Nepal in 1996, 1997 and 1998 the author made many mountain excursions with his friends Sukre Ale, Dawa, Surendra, Krisna, Kazi, his grand daughter Sara and his wife Maria. These excursions allowed them to explore the hilly countryside around Kathmandu, Pokhara, Sirubari, Tansen and Gorkha and gave also them the opportunity to establish contact with elderly Nepalese farmers and herdsmen from various different tribes castes.
From their direct conversations with these people of the place, Mr De Smetd could conclude with certainty that almost every tribe and caste make wooden churning- rod holders, each of them in their own specific symbolic way.
The author remarkes also that there are cases of eclecticism in transition areas or as a consequence of migrations. This fact is interesting and important to explains the rich variety of design of these objects, although they do possess a surprising unity in form due to their anthropomorphic shape and mythological symbolism.
These functional and ritual items are known with different names, depending upon the tribe or caste concerned: tar, tara, nethi, ghurra, ghurlu, ghorlo, loti, neti, netti, in the Kathmandu 'market' are known as neti or ghurra.