Gold Child’s Whistle with Enamel, a Diamond & other Precious Stones
length: 4cm, weight: 8g
This wonderful whistle is of solid gold and is shaped at one end as a lion’s head. It is enamelled in light and dark blue, red, and white enamels with Mughal-inspired flower and bird designs. The eyes are inset with emeralds, the ears are inset with rubies, and there is a rose-cut diamond inset to the top of the lion’s head.
This whistle might have been commissioned as a gift for a royal child. It might also have been commissioned for placing on a shrine for the infant Krishna.In India, effigies of Hindu gods are treated as the gods themselves and thus have earthly requirements. Accordingly, bronze statues of the infant Krishna would be treated with much loving care and provided with toys, often bejewelled. It is for this purpose that this whistle might have been made.
Gold, enamelled whistles from Mughal India are rarely encountered and few, if any, have been published. We have encountered only two. The other can be seen
The whistle has been fitted with a gold loop and can be worn as a pendant. There are losses to the enamel here and there, as is often the case with older Indian enamel on gold. The stones are all intact and original. The item can still function as a whistle (all be it a little weakly.) Overall, the item is rare and decorative.
Aitken, M.E., When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection, Asia Society & Philip Wilson Publishers, 2004.Provenance:
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3247