5193

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Gold Hinged Makara Bangle

South India or Goa
19th century

external diameter: 7.4cm, internal diameter: 5.2cm, weight: 32.65g

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Provenance

UK art market

This fine, two-part, hinged bracelet is of high-grade gold sheet over a lac core. It is in the form of two dragon-like makaras. Four inlaid red stones comprise the pairs of eyes for each makara. Gold bracelets with makara terminals are known in India but this example is more unusual than most. Its texture and spikiness, particularly the small horns or spikes on the crests of the makara’s heads are an unusual and striking feature.

The unusual nature of this piece might suggest that it does not come from Madras in South India, as most are thought to have come, but from Goa.

The screwing mechanism that holds the two halves of the bracelet together does so firmly.

Utracht (1997, p.254) illustrates an example in silver, and comments that such bracelets also were made in gold (as in the case of the example here) and that they were given by rajahs to their male subjects as a mark of favour.

This example is in fine condition and is  wearable.

References

Penalva, L. et al, Espendores do Oriente: Joias de Ouro da Antia Goa/Splendours of the Orient: Gold Jewels from Old Goa, Museu Nacional de Atre Antiga, 2014.

Utracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997

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