This beautiful two-part, hinged hollow silver bracelet is typical of South Indian work, production of which centred on Madras. Comprising chased silver sheet, it has two fierce makara head terminals. Each has a pair of protruding silver eyeballs.
Between the makaras, in their gaping mouths, is a magical, round jewel decorated in high relief with floral motifs. The jewel is surmounted by a finial that hides a screw that keeps the two halves of the bracelet together.
The bodies of the makaras that make up the two terminals form the body of the bracelet. They are chased with copious curls and flourishes.
The screwing mechanism that holds the two halves of the bracelet together screws tightly and firmly.
This example is particularly fine with the attention to detail that has been paid to its construction.
Utracht (1997, p.254) illustrates a very similar example in silver, and comments that such bracelets also were made in gold and that they were given by rajas to their male subjects as a mark of favour. Indeed, examples in gold were made exclusively for royal households. They were of course also made for the colonial European market and became popular with wealthier Victorian women.
The example here is in fine condition and is stable and wearable.
Utracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.