From Heavy Beads to Safety Pins: Adornment and Religiosity in Hindu Women’s Pote Practices

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Department 1

Religious Studies


This article examines the object of the beaded necklace worn by married women in Nepal – called pote – and the ambiguities and layers of meaning surrounding pote in the lived worlds of the women who wear them. The ways women understand and use pote offer a view of religious belief as constituted and enacted through lived practices, surrounding and taking place through material objects. To illustrate this, this essay focuses on the ways that knowledge about the pote is transmitted and the spatial practices of pote wearing. A new generation of upper caste Hindu women of the Kathmandu valley are negotiating socio-cultural norms in an ever-shifting socio-cultural landscape characteristic of modernity, yet unique to Nepal. Pote practices offer a window into these women’s shifting worlds revealing creativity, agency, and re-invention of new modes of practice informed by traditional codes of women’s religious behavior.


Original version available from the publisher at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17432200.2015.1120089



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