Inventory no.: 1788

Tibetan Ear Ornaments


Large Turquoise & Gilded Copper Ear Ornaments


18th-19th century

diameter: 6.9cm, combined weight: 179g

This pair of ornaments was made to be attached to a large statue, most probably a large Buddha image, in a temple or monastery. They would have been attached to either side of the image’s head to serve as large ear ornaments. They appear to be based on the New Year Day ear ornaments that government officials in Lhasa wore which, in turn, were based on the ornaments that supposedly were worn by Tibetan kings of the seventh and ninth centuries.

Each comprises thirty-eight turquoise plaques mounted in a domed setting, the dome possibly evoking Mount Meru of Buddhist lore. The plaques are kept in place by gilded copper and gilded, pearled wire strips.  

The reverse of each is of plain copper with a prominent central post and a small copper eyelet through which wire or thread could be passed to help secure the weight of the ornament.

The ornaments are heavy in the hand. They are very well constructed and very stable. There are no losses and no repairs.


Casey Singer, J., Gold Jewelry from Tibet and Nepal, Thames & Hudson, 1996.


UK private collection

Inventory no.: 1788



ear ornament, currently displayed in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.