Woman’s Single Turquoise & Copper Ear Ornament (Akor)
19th century or earlier
length: 11.3cm, weight: 33g
This ear pendants shows signs of significant wear and age and dates to the nineteenth century if not earlier. It was collected by a British major, Major McDonald Parr, around 1900 by which time it was already old – its current appearance is probably how it looked in 1900.
It is set with old, flat turquoise cabochons in red pitch and within sheet copper mounts. The mounts are further embellished with pearled copper wire and applied spheres.
Pendants such as these were too bulky to be worn from the ears and so were worn near the ears as if they were earrings. Typically they were suspended from the wearer’s headdress.
The example here is typical of the Lhasa style that was worn by aristocratic wives.
Ear pendants of similar form are illustrated in Casey Singer (1996, p. 126), and in Clarke (2004, p. 73).
The example here is without losses to the turquoise. Some of the granulation work around the central turquoise element are now missing, but otherwise, this is a fine and demonstrably old example of an
akor ear pendant.
Casey Singer, J., Gold Jewelry from Tibet and Nepal, Thames and Hudson, 1996.
Jewellery of Tibet and the Himalayas, V&A Publications, 2004.Provenance:
Collected by Major W.R. McDonald Parr (1865-1938) and thence by descent. Major McDonald Parr served in China as a customs officer and worked with Lt Col. Sir Francis Younghusband (1863-1942) famous for leading the 1904 British expedition to Tibet.
Inventory no.: 2949