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AKM890, Amulet pendant

© The Aga Khan Museum

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AKM890, Amulet pendant, Side

© The Aga Khan Museum

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AKM890, Amulet pendant, End

© The Aga Khan Museum

 photo.name
AKM890, Amulet pendant

© The Aga Khan Museum

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Amulet pendant
  • Accession Number:AKM890
  • Place:India, possibly Deccan
  • Dimensions:Length: 5.5 cm
  • Date:17th century or later (or with later modifications)
  • Materials and Technique:gold, inlaid with rubies and green enamel
  • This small, cylindrically-shaped pendant is encrusted with rubies on one side and decorated in green enamel on the back. Its general shape suggests an amulet—an object worn throughout the Islamic world as a protective device. More specifically, its elongated form (known as taviz) would have served to hold a scroll, typically inscribed with the words of God, which were believed to provide protection from malice, the evil eye, Illness, or other misfortune. The style of its gem settings suggests that it may have been created in the Mughal Empire (1526–1857), or perhaps in one of the contemporaneous Deccan Sultanates from south central India. Both the Mughal Empire and the Deccan Sultanates were exceptionally wealthy, and rulers were especially fond of gemstones and jewelled objects. Similar objects from 17th century India can be found in the al Sabah collection in Kuwait (LNS 2200J and 2198J). [1]

Further Reading

 

The gemstones have been set on this small object using a technique unique to India called kundan. In this technique, hyper-purified gold is beaten into strips of foil, which are pressed into place to surround the gemstones.[2] An especially adept gem setter has fashioned these stones into a kind of lattice pattern. The core, like many Mughal Indian works of jewellery or jewelled objects, was made of lac, a natural resin produced by an insect. The use of lac as a core in Mughal jewelled objects permits considerable savings in metal and also results in a resilience, heft and stability in objects that otherwise might be quite fragile if hollow.[3]

 

The backside is ornamented with gold and green enamel in floral, vegetal, and arabesque forms. An inscription in gold appears to read “D R Put” and “1911,” suggesting that this work is either a 20th-century emulation of an earlier style, or that the verso has been reworked since the original fabrication. Green-ground enamel pendants are known to have been made in Jaipur and Rajasthan in the 19th and 20th centuries.[4]

 

Inscribed on verso: “Dr. Putt 1911” (?)

 

— Courtney Stewart


Notes
[1] Keene, Manuel, and Salam Kaoukji. Treasury of the World: Jeweled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001, 20, no. 1.5 and 23, no. 1.10.
[2] http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/videos/b/video-bejewelled-treasures-kundan-setting/.
[3] Pedro M. Carvalho Henrietta S. Cockrell, and Stephen Vernoit. Gems and Jewels of Mughal India: Jewelled and Enamelled Objects from the 16th to 20th Centuries. London: Nour Foundation, 2010, 38.
[4] Ibid., 230–1.


References
Carvalho, Pedro M., Henrietta S. Cockrell, and Stephen Vernoit. Gems and Jewels of Mughal India: Jewelled and Enamelled Objects from the 16th to 20th Centuries. London: Nour Foundation, 2010. ISBN: 9781874780724
Keene, Manuel and Salam Kaoukji. Treasury of the World: Jeweled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001. ISBN: 9780500976081
“Kundan Setting” Produced for Victoria & Albert Museum. http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/videos/b/video-bejewelled-treasures-kundan-setting/.

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