Each of this splendid pair of wearable gold earrings is decorated with the sun or solar motif associated with the Mewar Royal house of what was then Udaipur State. The motif incorporates a human, male face with an extravagant, upturned moustache and with fine gold radiating rays.
The solar emblem is painted in gold, black and cream against a dark-blue ground. The painted disks are encased, under thin glass, within gold frames and backing. The frames are bordered by fine gold scalloped edging and surmounted by a pair of gold parrots separated by a flower motifs. Above this is the gold fish-hook loop which is decorated with a matching floral gold plaque.
The Mewar rulers ruled over Udaipur State, also known as the Mewar Kingdom which was in present-day south central Rajasthan. The family were Suryavanshi Rajputs – they claimed descent from the Hindu sun god Surya. The solar face symbol was frequently seen in the palaces of the Mewar ruling family.
Sharma & Varadarajan (2004, p. 22) say in respect of a necklace decorated with similar ‘Sun’ motifs that it was probably commissioned by a royal patron associated with the Udaipur or Mewer royal family, and it is likely that this was the case with the earrings here. See Chong (2013, p. 145) for a shield similarly emblazoned with a Mewar solar motif, and Gupta (1985, p. 161) for another which is the personal shield of Maharana Sangram Singh II of Mewar who ruled from 1710 to 1734. Also, see Jackson & Jaffer (2009, p. 14) for an example of a silver-clad howdah or elephant riding platform that is decorated with a large Mewar-like solar emblem.
The earrings here are in excellent condition.
The last image shows a Mewar royal procession – note the use of solar symbols.
Chong, A., et al, Devotions in Desire: Cross Cultural Art in Asia – New Acquisitions, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2013.
Gupta, S.P. (ed.), Masterpieces from the National Museum Collection, National Museum, New Delhi, 1985.
Jackson, A., & A. Jaffer, Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, V&A Publishing, 2009.
Sharma, R.D. & M. Varadarajan, Handcrafted Indian Enamel Jewellery, Roli Books, 2004.