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African~Indian Fusion

Of all the tables I’ve done this is the one I was most nervous about doing. Some of the pieces used here are very unique, one of a kind and carry deep personal sentiment. This table has also been in the making for almost two years.

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There were other items I wanted to include and I just couldn’t find them. Soon it became clear that maybe they were supposed to be included so I did the best with what I have. What I have is beautiful and thoughtful gifts from our daughter-in-law Rupal and her family. Rupal is married to Garlon our youngest son and they live in Indiana. She is Indian and was raised in Tanzania.

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I sent pics of the table to her and asked for the details of each item to make sure I got it right. What’s so cool about these pieces is that they are a reflection of our family’s history and her’s. I didn’t use chargers because they weren’t needed. The flatware, plates, napkins w/rings and the glasses here are mainly fill-ins to the rest of the table. As are the wooden candlesticks and simple tapers. I’m sharing Rupal’s description of the other pieces in her own words.

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“The bowl is made out of Muninga wood found in Tanzania. It’s hand crafted. The animals and trees on it are native to Tanzania. Because it’s handcrafted there’s only one piece like it.

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The statue is of Maasai, a tribe native to what used to be called Tanganyika before independence. Like Native Americans, the Maasai occupied the land before migration from the Middle East, Europe, east India and the surrounding African nations. The Maasai are semi-nomadic people and are famous for their fearsome reputations as warriors and cattle-rustlers. They are among the best known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks of Tanzania, and their distinctive customs and dress.

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Maasai society never condoned traffic of human beings, and outsiders looking for people to enslave avoided the Maasai therefore they were never enslaved. The worth of a Maasai man is measured in the amount of cattle he owns and the amount of children he bears. Having one and not the other is considered poor.

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The cloth is hand beaded and hand sewn by my sister Neha’s mother in law who lives in Jaipur, India; the place where pre-colonial (Mughal Empire) kings and queens had their kingdoms and massive palaces. She designs and makes Indian clothing for a living and has a factory and storefront for her apparel. She’s now ventured into making items like these that are normally used as wall pieces in India.

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The piece was sent to me in 2008. I didn’t want it to just sit in my closet; it was too beautiful; so I gave it to you where it would be put to great use, look beautiful in your house and remain in the family. India is very well known for its textile, colors and beadwork. The intricate details in that beadwork represent India’s culture, religion (mostly Hindu) and national monuments.”

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Now can you see why I was shaking in my boots? These are items that won’t be packed away when I take this table apart. They have a permanent spot in our living room. Like Rupal said I don’t want them to just sit in my closet. Like my mother’s dishes these are items that will stay in our family forever. Thank you so much Rupal, we love you dearly.

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20 thoughts on “African~Indian Fusion

  1. Alycia Nichols

    It’s cool to read your daughter-in-law’s narration of the tablescape. She made it feel like a dual inspiration/education!

    My Mother traveled to Tanzania back in the 90s with my nephew. They climbed to the 2nd summit of Mt. Kilamanjaro and slept in the wilderness with hyenas howling (is that what they do?) in the distance. There are many artifacts linked to the Masaii in her repertoire, many of which are on loan to the Bruce Watkins Cultural Heritage Center for a long-standing exhibit. She also has in her home a photo of herself and my nephew standing amongst native Masaii tribesmen. Pretty cool. My Mom was in her 70s when they took this particular excursion. They’re both into other cultures. I’m going to email her this link so she can check out all your cool pieces.

    I like the way you merged tribal with elegance. Very cool, Sandra!

    Reply
    1. Sandra Post author

      I’d love to know what Mom thinks. She is one classy lady. Rupal says she could see Mt. Kilamanjaro from her bedroom window. How cool is that!! The animals in her backyard were giraffes and elephants. We have squirrels and an occasional wild turkey:) Thank you for the thumbs up!!

      Reply
  2. Ramona

    What a Stunning table. I love how you blended both these beautiful cultures together. Well, if you were nervous doing the table… I would be certainly nervous to sit at it… I am so clumsy… I’m sure to knock something over. I would have to sit at the “kids” table and admire it from afar. 🙂 Well done my friend. 🙂

    Reply

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