Pendant thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

Pendant

ca.1610-20 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This amulet would have been the central pendant of a necklace and there is a hole along the top edge to accommodate the thread or chain. The ancient form probably derives from arrowhead-shaped pendants which were believed to confer protection on the wearer. This example has very intricate details and the eyes of the birds are tiny emeralds set in gold. It is made with the 'kundan' technique of setting precious stones into jade and other materials with tiny strips of extremely highly refined gold. The back of the pendant is inscribed with a verse from the Koran. The very high quality of the gemstones and craftsmanship suggest that it was made within the Mughal court workshops, and the style of the palmettes date it to the early 17th century. It was conceivably made for the emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) as the design includes a pair of hoopoes, the birds associated with Solomon (Suleyman), with whom the Mughal emperors were often compared in eulogistic poems or in architectural inscriptions..
read The arts of the Mughal Empire The great age of Mughal art lasted from about 1580 to 1650 and spanned the reigns of three emperors: Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Hindu and Muslim artists and craftsmen from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent worked with Iranian masters in the masculine environment of the r...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
White nephrite jade, set with rubies and emeralds in gold using the kundan technique.
Brief Description
Jewelled jade pendant, Mughal court, c. 1610-20
Physical Description
Pendant of white nephrite jade set with rubies and emeralds in gold, and with a pendent emerald bead. The top edge has been bored to accommodate the thread or chain. The pendant is inscribed on the back with a Koranic verse. The precious stones are set into a scrolling design with a large central palmette, with a hoopoe on either side of it, a bird in flight above, and a bird seemingly on firm ground below.
Dimensions
  • Excluding pendent emerald height: 5.7cm
  • Width: 5.2cm
  • Height: 7.5cm
  • (Emerald 0.7) depth: 0.6cm
Style
Gallery Label
Pendant (Ta'viz) White nephrite jade set with rubies and emeralds in gold. Mughal, early 17th century. The pendant is inscribed on the back with a Koranic verse.(About 1990)
Object history
From the collection of Col. Charles Seton Guthrie and bought by the Indian Museum in Leadenhall Street, London, in 1868. Transferred in 1879 from the India Museum to the collections of the South Kensington Museum, which later became the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Summary
This amulet would have been the central pendant of a necklace and there is a hole along the top edge to accommodate the thread or chain. The ancient form probably derives from arrowhead-shaped pendants which were believed to confer protection on the wearer. This example has very intricate details and the eyes of the birds are tiny emeralds set in gold. It is made with the 'kundan' technique of setting precious stones into jade and other materials with tiny strips of extremely highly refined gold. The back of the pendant is inscribed with a verse from the Koran. The very high quality of the gemstones and craftsmanship suggest that it was made within the Mughal court workshops, and the style of the palmettes date it to the early 17th century. It was conceivably made for the emperor Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) as the design includes a pair of hoopoes, the birds associated with Solomon (Suleyman), with whom the Mughal emperors were often compared in eulogistic poems or in architectural inscriptions..
Bibliographic References
  • Susan Stronge, Nima Smith, and J.C. Harle. A Golden Treasury : Jewellery from the Indian Subcontinent London : Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad, 1988. ISBN: 0944142168p.68STRONGE, Susan, Nima Smith and James Harle, A Golden Treasury. Jewellery from the Indian subcontinent, London, 1988, catalogue number 62, p.68 For information on the ta'viz form, see: UNTRACHT, Oppi, Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames and Hudson, London, 1997, pp.102-105 Ekaterina Schcherbina, ed., India: Jewels That Enchanted the World. Moscow Kremlin Museums, 2014, cat. 69, p. 152 Rogers, Emma: Arts of Asia, vol. 45, no. 5, September - October 2015, "The Parasol Foundation Trust Programme: digitising and cataloguing the V&A's South Asian collection.", p. 110, pl. 36. For the dating and analysis of the design, see A.S. Melikian-Chirvani, "The Jewelled Objects of Hindustan", in Beatriz Chadour-Sampson and Nigel Israel, eds, Jewelled Arts of Mughal India. Jewellery Studies Volume 10, 2004, pp. 23-24
  • A.S. Melikian-Chirvani, "The Jewelled Objects of Hindustan", Jewellery Studies, vol. 10, London, 2004, pp. 9-32: illus. fig. 13 , p. 21 and see especially pp. 23-24.
  • Indian Jewellery: The V&A Collection London: V&A Publishing, 2008 Number: ISBN 9781851774838p. 25, pl. 1.18
  • The Jewels of India: Marg, 1995 Number: ISBN 81-85026-30-0p. 103, cat. no. 3, Susan Stronge
  • Susan Stronge, "Colonel Guthrie's Collection. Jades of the Mughal Era", Oriental Art, Winter 1993/94, vol. XXXIX, no. 4, fig.5, p. 7
Collection
Accession Number
02535(IS)

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record createdMarch 5, 2004
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