Not currently on display at the V&A

Buttons

c. 1850 (made)
Place Of Origin

This collection of agate and carnelian buttons, understood to have been fashioned in Chennai (Madras) before 1879 when they were acquired by London's Indian Museum, shows a range of shapes and styles. Traditionally, most of the fashioning and polishing was accomplished using abrasive-charged discs and wheels that were turned on bow-driven lathes, with the holes being made with a bow-driven drill. Most of the carnelian raw material is routinely subjected to heat-treatment to dry it and to permanently intensify the colour.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Agate and carnelian, cut and polished using abrasives probably with the use of a bow-driven disc, drill, lathe or wheel.
Brief Description
Buttons, ten in a bag, carnelian and agate, for costume, Madras India, c. 1850
Physical Description
A collection of round buttons of varied size and form, in varying shades of orange, each with a single drill hole. One has radiating channels carved into the dome which widen as they run to the circumference. Two are flat discs with bevelled edges. Seven are small and similar in appearance.
Dimensions
  • Grooved button diameter: 14.8mm
  • Grooved button height: 4.8mm
  • Flat button diameter: 2.0 to 2.5mm
  • Flat button thickness: 2.7 to 2.8mm
  • Small button diameter: 8.5 to 8.6mm
  • Small button height: 3.5 to 4.0mm
Object history
Formerly in The India Museum in London and transferred to the South Kensington Museum (later renamed The Victoria & Albert Museum) in 1879.
Summary
This collection of agate and carnelian buttons, understood to have been fashioned in Chennai (Madras) before 1879 when they were acquired by London's Indian Museum, shows a range of shapes and styles. Traditionally, most of the fashioning and polishing was accomplished using abrasive-charged discs and wheels that were turned on bow-driven lathes, with the holes being made with a bow-driven drill. Most of the carnelian raw material is routinely subjected to heat-treatment to dry it and to permanently intensify the colour.
Collection
Accession Number
08578(IS)

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record createdJune 25, 2009
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