Inventory no.: 2945

Tibetan Man’s Earring


Man’s Gilded Silver & Turquoise Earring

Central Tibet

18th-early 19th century

diameter at widest point: 7.5cm. weight: 34g

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.

The earring comprises a large, thick, solid ribbed gilded silver hoop – open at one end – with an attached bezel that comprises a large, lozenge section topped by a lotus-shaped flourish. The bezel is inset with flat-topped turquoise cabochons, and edged with applied granulation work and pearled wire.

There are some losses to the turquoise and much wear to the gilding, but importantly, the earring is clearly old, and has excellent provenance.

An almost identical earring is illustrated in Clarke (2004, p. 82). This example was collected by Sargent Hearney, a member of the 1904 Younghusband expedition, and later given to the National Museums in Liverpool. Clarke postulates that Hearney most probably collected the earring from a battlefield near Guru in central Tibet during the British advance on Lhasa. It is possible, given the provenance of our example here, that it was collected from the same battlefield.


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

Clarke, J.,

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.: 2945

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