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"It is the beautiful bird which gets caged " (China)

Practical items, such as bags and fans, can be decorated so that they become beautiful things in their own right. Beads, feathers, even insects can be used to decorate our belongings and ourselves. They can show an individual’s sense of style and set them apart from the crowd. There is evidence of this throughout human history.

Hands and feet are often decorated with items that make them pleasurable to look at or listen to. The combination of colour, reflection and sound are important to social and religious events, such as masquerade and dance.

French shoes

Indian women decorate their hands and feet with Mehndi at festive occasions such as weddings. These patterns evoke eroticism and are symbols of happiness. Sixteen patterns are applied by the bride’s female relatives. Several hours are spent in joyful singing to calm the bride before the ceremony.

The age of sixteen is significant as it relates to a woman who has reached the peak of her physical perfection. It is a sacred number in Hindu religion. It corresponds to the sixteen phases of the moon, which in turn is connected with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Sparkling silver jewellery adds to the striking appearance of both hands and feet.