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Thumb ring

Thumb ring

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal empire (made)

  • Date:

    17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Almandine garnet, set with diamonds in gold using the kundan technique

  • Museum number:

    02530(IS)

  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 19

Thumb rings of this type were originally used in archery as a way of releasing the bowstring without injuring the hand. Thumb rings of precious materials became objects of royal status in the Mughal courts of India. Jewellers used the 'kundan' technique of setting precious stones into objects of garnet, jade and other materials with tiny strips of highly refined gold. This ring is made of semi-transparent garnet that contrasts with the diamonds set into it, which are backed with metal foil to help reflect the light. This example came from the collection of Colonel Charles Seton Guthrie, and was originally bought from him by the Indian Museum in Leadenhall Street, London, with objects made of jade, rock crystal or agate. All his pieces were transferred to the South Kensington Museum, later renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum, in 1879.

Physical description

Thumb ring, almandine garnet set with diamonds in gold.

Place of Origin

Mughal empire (made)

Date

17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Almandine garnet, set with diamonds in gold using the kundan technique

Dimensions

Length: 3.8 cm, Width: 3 cm, Height: 1.7 cm

Object history note

From the collection of Col. Charles Seton Guthrie. Transferred in 1879 from the India Museum to the South Kensington Museum, which later became the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Descriptive line

Thumb ring, garnet with diamonds, Mughal empire, probably 18th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

p. 109, cat. no. 305
The Indian heritage : court life & arts under Mughal rule : Victoria & Albert Museum 21 April-22 August 1982. [London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982] Number: 0905209206 (pbk.)
p. 116
Jackson, Anna and Ji Wei (eds.) with Rosemary Crill, Ainsley M. Cameron and Nicholas Barnard, compiled by the Palace Museum, translated by Yuan Hong, Qi Yue and Liu Ran. The Splendour of India' Royal Courts : Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Beijing: the Forbidden City Publishing House, 2013. Text in English and Chinese. ISBN 9787513403917.

Production Note

The Mughal empire straddled territory in both the modern states of India and Pakistan, which were created as separate entities in 1947. The object may have been made in either of these regions.

Materials

Gold; Almandine garnet; Diamond

Categories

Jewellery; India Museum

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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