5060

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Gold & Pearl Nose Ring (Nath)

India
18th century

diameter: 5cm, weight: 9.02g

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Provenance

UK art market

This hoop of gold decorated with a peacock was designed to be worn through a piercing in the side of the nose. Mostly worn by Hindu women in India, such nose rings or naths also were worn by Indian Muslim women who, historically, have been acculturated with Hindu ways.

Generally, they were worn by married women – as an indicator of their married status – usually through the left nostril. Once a woman was widowed, her nath was discarded.

The example here is particularly beautiful and well made. It incorporates small gold beads with fine granulation work and finely twisted gold wire, baroque pearls, sapphires and rubies.

One side of the peacock is inset with precious stones. The other sides is finely engraved with the details of the bird – its feathers, wings and so on.

The fineness of the work and the patina of the piece suggest an 18th century dating.

The nath is in excellent condition.

References

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

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