5073

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Indian Woman’s Kibla Compass Shaped as a Gold Mango Pendant

South India
19th century

length: 3.2cm, weight: 8.62g

Reserved

Provenance

UK art market

The mango is a common motif in Indian jewellery (see Aitken, 2004, p, 130 for an example.) It is associated with fertility and femininity with its suggestive curvaceousness. Usually the mango form serves as a bead or as a small scent or vermilion container.

But this is the only example we are aware of in which the contents are a tiny compass. It seems likely that it was made for a Muslim woman in South India as a small, private kilbla compass.

The mango is hinged on one side and the cover opens to reveal a tiny needle, beneath glass, in the shape of a flying bird.

The exterior of the mango is engraved with mihrab-like cartouches and a petal form over the cover.

The top is fitted with a tiny gold loop to allow suspension.

The item is in excellent condition. The cover fits perfectly and tightly.

References

Aitken, M.E., When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection, Asia Society & Philip Wilson Publishers, 2004.

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