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Amulet

Amulet

  • Place of origin:

    Delhi (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    White nephrite jade, gold, rhodolite garnet. Fashioned and polished using abrasives with the recesses for the gold and gems being carved out using abrasive points and drills. The hole has been made by drilling from both ends to meet in the middle.

  • Museum number:

    685-1874

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This amulet has been fashioned in white nephrite jade and then inset with gold and gems. The nephrite came from Xinjiang and has been used for artefacts made for the Mughal court from the early seventeenth century. This piece was made within the Mughal empire, probably in the early 19th century. It was acquired by William Tayler during his time in India and bought from him by the museum in 1874. Tayler was educated in England at Charterhouse and also spent a term at Christ Church, Oxford. He entered service with the East India Company on 30th April 1829, arriving in India in October of the same year. He held various posts in Bengal and was appointed Commissioner of Patna in 1855. During his service, he was able to acquire many objects, including hardstones, relating to the customs and religions of India as well as objects from other parts of South Asia. He was criticised for his handling of the uprisings in Northern India and was moved to a lesser post before being suspended, ultimately resigning on 29th March 1859. He then practised as an advocate in the law courts of Bengal before returning to England in 1867. He wrote a book about his experiences, entitled Thirty-eight Years in India in which he states that "After my return to England, circumstances induced me, though with great reluctance, to part with the collection which is now in the South Kensington Museum".

Physical description

A flat, amulet of approximately square to rhomb-shaped form, with a white body colour. It has two-fold symmetry, with two adjacent edges being scalloped and the corners also bear other small, decorative protrusions, one of which has been drilled parallel to the plane of the amulet. One face, which is plain and polished, bears a slight curvature while the other face is flat, polished and decorated with a flower and foliage design in inlaid gold wire and pale gemstone cabochons. These stones have been set into reflective settings that were once either silver or coloured red or green, but the colouring has since deteriorated and faded. Two of the stones are pale rhodolite garnets.

Place of Origin

Delhi (made)

Materials and Techniques

White nephrite jade, gold, rhodolite garnet. Fashioned and polished using abrasives with the recesses for the gold and gems being carved out using abrasive points and drills. The hole has been made by drilling from both ends to meet in the middle.

Dimensions

Length: 50.1 mm, Width: 51.5 mm, Thickness: 4.3 mm +/- 0.2

Object history note

This amulet was acquired by William Tayler during his time in India (1829-1867). He subsequently sold it to the South Kensington Museum (later renamed the Victoria & Albert Museum) in 1874 for the sum of £7-0-0.

William Tayler was educated in England at Charterhouse and also spent a term at Christ Church, Oxford. He entered service with the East India Company on 30th April 1829, arriving in India in October of the same year. He held various posts in Bengal and was appointed Commissioner of Patna in 1855. During his service, he was able to acquire many objects, including hardstones, relating to the customs and religions of India as well as objects from other parts of South Asia.
He was criticised for his handling of the uprisings in Northern India and was moved to a lesser post before being suspended, ultimately resigning on 29th March 1859. He then practised as an advocate in the law courts of Bengal before returning to England in 1867.
He wrote a book about his experiences, entitled Thirty-eight Years in India, in which he states that "After my return to England, circumstances induced me, though with great reluctance, to part with the collection which is now in the South Kensington Museum".

Descriptive line

Amulet, white nephrite jade, inset flower and foliage decoration in gold and gems, Delhi India

Materials

Nephrite; Gold; Rhodolite garnet

Categories

Amulets; Gemstones; Hardstone; Religion

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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