This pendant is of gilded (gold plated) silver, and was meant to decorate a statue or perhaps a person. The central figure is that of Garuda, marked out in large pieces of polished coral, including a coral face that has been carved with facial features. The deity’s wings are inlaid with flat segments of mother-of-pearl or similar, and the deity is surrounded by turquoise, red glass, pearls and spinels in gilded box settings.
Garuda is the celestial mode of transport (vahana) for Vishnu and so is an important figure in Nepali and Newar Hinduism.
See lot 258 in Sotheby’s New York sale: ‘Indian and Southeast Asia Art’ December 1, 1993, and again lot 269 in Sotheby’s New York sale, ‘Indian and Southeast Asian Art’, June 4, 1994, for a related jewel.
The example here is in a fine and stable condition.
A related pendant or earring in the British Museum.
Clarke, J., Jewellery of Tibet and the Himalayas, V&A Publications, 2004.