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Buttons

  • Place of origin:

    Madras (made)

  • Date:

    c. 1850 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Agate and carnelian, cut and polished using abrasives probably with the use of a bow-driven disc, drill, lathe or wheel.

  • Museum number:

    08578(IS)

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Madras (made)

Date

c. 1850 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Agate and carnelian, cut and polished using abrasives probably with the use of a bow-driven disc, drill, lathe or wheel.

Dimensions

Diameter: 14.8 mm Grooved button, Height: 4.8 mm Grooved button, Diameter: 2.0 to 2.5 mm Flat button, Thickness: 2.7 to 2.8 mm Flat button, Diameter: 8.5 to 8.6 mm Small button, Height: 3.5 to 4.0 mm Small button

Object history note

Formerly in The India Museum in London and transferred to the South Kensington Museum (later renamed The Victoria & Albert Museum) in 1879.

Descriptive line

Buttons, ten in a bag, carnelian and agate, for costume, Madras India, c. 1850

Materials

Agate; Carnelian

Categories

Clothing; Costumes; Gemstones; Hardstone; Jewellery; India Museum

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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