Inventory no.: 1438

Tibetan Officials Earring


Turquoise, Pearl & Gold Official’s Ear Pendant (Sochi), & Iron Case

Lhasa, Tibet

circa 1900

length: 12.2cm, weight: 13g, length of iron case: 18cm

This thin, pencil-like ear ornament known as a sochi is made from twisted gold and pearled wire, gold sheet, a single baroque pearl, turquoise pieces, and a long turquoise-coloured glass drop.

Such pendants were worn from the left ear as a badge of office by Tibetan government ministers and officials.

The gold hoop at the top of the pendant fitted through the pierced ear but with the weight of the pendant being supported by a thin strip of silk textile that was attached to the hoop and which fitted over the ear.

See Casey Singer (1996, p. 100-1), Clarke (2004, p. 65) and Reynolds (1978, p. 46) for illustrated examples. One such example currently is displayed in the British Museum.

This example includes the original lidded steel or iron case in which

sochi were always kept. The lid of the case is kept in place by means of a single brass and iron rivet which allows the lid to slide open and closed.


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

Clarke, J.,

Jewellery of Tibet and the Himalayas, V&A Publications, 2004.

Reynolds, V.,

Tibet: A Lost World: The Newark Museum Collection of Tibetan Art and Ethnology, The American Federation of Arts, 1978.


from a Belgium collection

Inventory no.: 1438